Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 30

As silly as this sounds, I'm thankful that I have so many things to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 29

We made it down to Oklahoma, and I'm thankful for the mostly-smooth trip down here.

I have lots more to say about the trip, but I'm too tired so that will have to wait until a later time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 28

I'm thankful that with this move, I don't have to lift a single box. Having movers has made me super spoiled and I will never go back to U-Hauling it again!

On a slightly-related note: My internet connection will most likely be spotty for the next couple of days, so sorry in advance if things are a bit slow around here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 27

For all the friends and wonderful memories we've made in Illinois.

The night before the big move

Tonight is our last night in the Chicago-area, and depending on how far we manage to drive tomorrow, possibly our last night in Illinois. It still hasn't hit me 100% that we are really moving. Sure, there are boxes everywhere, suitcases are packed, and Jim is working on loading up the cars. I don't think until everything is emptied out of the house and we get on the highway that I will truly feel like we are moving.

This has been our home since 2005. We moved up here individually, and are leaving as a family. In the seven years we've lived here, we have met so many amazing people and had some pretty spectacular times.

When I moved up here at the age of 18, I never imagined that I would stay longer than it took me to finish up my undergrad degree. I had vague dreams of what I would be doing with my life- none of which figured in moving to Oklahoma.

There is such a rush of emotions involved in packing and moving- sadness, excitement, nostalgia, anxiety (okay, a lot of anxiety). This is where I met Jim. The home of his crappy apartment where he made me Indian food and proposed to me. Where our first apartment together was, so small that we could barely move around all the furniture. And more importantly, where Ella was born and spent most of her first year.

But now it's time to stop reminiscing, finish packing up those last few boxes, and close the door on this chapter of our lives. Tomorrow it's Oklahoma or bust!

Monday, November 26, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 26

I'm thankful for the yummy, yummy Indian food we had for dinner tonight. I will definitely miss all the awesome ethnic food we're able to get here.

Now back to my food coma.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 25

In the past week or so we've started the letting Ella have some whole milk in a sippy. Originally I was planning on waiting until after she was a year old, but for a variety of reasons and under the advice of our pediatrician we decided to introduce it a bit early. 

To be quite honest, I'm a little sad that she's taken to it so readily. I fully expected to have to warm it up, mix it with breast milk, try a different type of cup, etc., to get her to drink it. She took that cup, though, and drank it down like she had been doing it her whole life. 

Transitioning her to whole milk has made me realize how glad I am that I've been able to breastfeed her, and that it looks like I will be able to make it to my initial goal of one year. Before she was born I was of the mindset that I would give it a shot and see how it went, and if for whatever reason it didn't work out, then we'd use bottles. Now, almost a year later, I can't imagine not breastfeeding her and missing out on that special time with her. Hopefully I can make it one more year!  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 24

Today, I am thankful for my fellow December mommies. They make me laugh and cry, and help me to realize that we are all on the front lines of mommyhood together.

It's hard to explain to people the bond we all share. Yet they have been there for me throughout all the highs and lows of my life, ever since the days when we first saw those two pink lines. Yesterday, when I was having a crummy time of things, I had friends text, email, and call me to pick up my spirits and offer words of encouragement. You ladies know who you are, and all hold a very special place in my heart.

How life changes after a baby: the things no one tells you

Before Ella was born, it seemed like everyone told me about the million and one ways in which my life was about to change. A lot of that centered on how much I will love my baby and how little sleep I will get. 

All that is fine and dandy, and most of that kind of stuff is true. However, there is an equally long list of stuff that no one ever tells you. It's like a series of secrets that you as a parent have to find out for yourself, and then when you tell another parent about this discovery, they say, "Oh yeah. I know." 

Here are just a few things that no one ever tells you about how your life changes after having a baby: 

-You will make up silly songs. A lot of them will center on your child's bodily functions. If you are so lucky, one might even mention how we "don't pee on the floor." 

-Even after having the baby, your body is not your own. In the eyes of your baby, your whole body is her own personal playground and trampoline. Your teeth and nostrils are an endless source of fascination, as is your belly button. Especially in church. 

-When your baby learns how to pull herself up, wear pants that have some sort of buckle or tie holding them up. Yoga pants + a baby pulling herself up to standing using said yoga pants= a pantless mommy. 

-Using the bathroom with the door closed is a thing of the past. 

-Talking on the phone uninterrupted is also a thing of the past. Children of all ages have some sort of sixth sense about this. 

-Silence with a newborn is bliss. Silence with a mobile baby is a sign of trouble. 

-Don't bother buying toys. So far the big hits in our household are: empty boxes, tupperware, paper, pots and pans, the dogs, and, of course, whatever I have and whatever I don't want her to get into. 

-Baby-proofing is more trial by fire. Yes, there are the big obvious things like outlets and baby gates. Most of what we've had to baby-proof are things that we never thought she would get into.  

-Be prepared to accept little bits of everything in your hand: half-eaten Cheerios, dog hairs, little scraps of who-knows-what off the floor, vomit. 

I'm sure there are more things that I can't remember now (that mommy brain thing is definitely real). Feel free to add your own fun parenting discoveries in the comments. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pity party, table of one

Today sucks.

The movers arrived this morning, bright and early, to box up all our stuff. Sounds great, right?

Except when you have a child who screams, "NOOOO" dramatically when things get moved. Or when your dogs do not stop barking all day long, thus ensuring that your child does not nap properly and you get a massive headache. Or when the movers leave in the evening, and you realize that not only are you going to be living in box city for the next five days, but that your much-needed booze is packed up.

I'm also more than slightly freaking out over the fact that as of Wednesday night, we don't have a place to live. There are a grand total of four houses to rent in our new town, three of which can be nixed based on size, price, or location, and who knows if the fourth is actually something we want to rent AND will let us have a short-term lease. Jim has been working frantically on trying to get us a place, but of course since it's a holiday weekend, nothing much is happening.

If it was just the two of us, I don't think I would be bothered so much. However, all I can think right now is, "I'm a terrible mom. My child is going to be homeless. I'm ripping her apart from the life she has known, and she won't have a birthday cake because there is no kitchen to make it in, and her holiday season is going to be crap because 1.) I don't live in a Pottery Barn catalogue, 2.) all of our stuff is going to be in storage, and 3.) did I mention we will be homeless?! " (Yes, I know. It's overly dramatic. We won't really be homeless, things will work out in the end, blah blah blah, unless those words of wisdom come with an extra large glass of wine and an entire cake, keep them to yourself.)

To top off this shit-tastic day, my mom calls me and tells me that my dad tripped and broke a rib.

I'm going to go load up on Thanksgiving leftovers and call it a night.  

30 Days of Thanks: Day 23

One of the hardest things is to be thankful when things don't go as planned. This time last week, it seemed like everything was falling into place. Then we got the inspection report back on the house we wanted to buy.

Foundation repairs needed. Mold. Presence of past water damage. Radon levels questionably high. The list went on and on.

We made the decision that as much as we want to buy a house and be settled, this house is not the one for us. So now we are back at step one of the home buying process. Ella's first birthday will be spent in some sort of temporary housing situation. There won't be any decorations or Christmas tree for the holidays. I'm more than a little bummed out.

In the midst of my disappointment, I'm trying to remember to be thankful. The home inspection ensured that we were aware of the multitude of problems, and won't be buying something that will be a constant source of stress and money down the line.

::Sigh:: Perhaps we'll be in a house in time for my birthday.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! We are heading out in a bit to have dinner with Jim's sister and brother-in-law and some good family friends. If I'm not in too much of a carb-induced haze later on, I'll try to post some pictures of our dinner. Hope everyone has a nice, relaxing, food-filled weekend!

Edit to add some photos from our festivities:

Clockwise from top left: Waiting patiently for food; enjoying cranberries (pretty much the only thing she wanted to eat); the face she made after every bite of cranberries; a view of the spread.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 21

I'm thankful for these past 11 months with my (not-so) little girl. How is it that this time next month she will be a year old?!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 20

Every now and again, I experience a perfect moment. Tonight I had one of those. 

Normally at Ella's bedtime, I'm in such a rush to get her through her bedtime routine so I can have some quiet time myself. Bath, diaper, pajamas, teeth brushed, book read, nurse, bed- we have it down to an exact science by now. 

Perhaps it's because of her looming first birthday, or perhaps because of all the changes in our lives right now, but tonight I slowed things down, and we did things on her time. We splashed around in the tub until her fingers were pruned and she was done playing. We cuddled up together and read her book, and I continued reading while she was nursing. 

She ended up falling asleep in the middle of the book, and I read to her for a while longer. I thought about putting her down in her crib. Instead, I held her up against me and tried to memorize everything about that moment to hold in store for a time when she's too old to want to snuggle up with her mommy. The softness of her hair, and how it dries in every direction. How her face squishes up against my arm. The way her mouth hangs half-open, and the little snores she occasionally gives. Her still-tiny hand, clutching at my shirt. How all the troubles and worries of the world seem to melt away when I am holding that soft, comforting little body up against mine. 

As your daddy says to you every night, "Good night, sleep tight, we'll see you in the morning light." 

Monday, November 19, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 19

I'm a huge wuss when it comes to watching anything remotely scary on the TV. I'm thankful that my husband doesn't mock me (too much) for turning into a five-year-old if a show has something scary.

Case in point: We were watching Dr. Who the other evening. The episode was "Blink." If you've seen it, you know that it's more suspenseful than terrifying. However, I still was scared, and spent a good portion of the episode with a blanket over my head, repeatedly asking Jim if it was safe to look at the TV. (You may wonder why I don't simply leave the room or turn on something different. It's because it's way worse not knowing how it ends).

I'm sure he probably thinks that I am slightly ridiculous. But I'm ever-thankful that he puts up with my nonsense, and that he has only once tried to grab my leg to scare me more while I hide in my blanket fort.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Days 17 & 18

Day 17: For a fun day of hanging out with friends and family. We had a great lunch downtown with some friends at bd's Mongolian grill, complete with dessert at Red Mango. Later on my sister-in-law and brother-in-law came by for a bit to hang out with their favorite niece.

Day 18: For the fact that in the eyes of my daughter, my singing and dancing are incredibly awesome and can always bring a smile to her face.

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 16

We are closing in quickly on Jim's last day of work. He has some vacation time accrued so he's using some of those days to hang out with us girls. I'm thankful for the (hopefully) lazy three-day weekend ahead of us. Here's to three days of vegging on the sofa, hanging out with friends, and doing some fun stuff around Chicago.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Days 14 & 15

Being sick while having a sick baby is kicking my ass, so yet again I am behind in updating and am doing two posts in one. Last night I had every intention of writing a post, but apparently I fell asleep on the couch at 7PM.

Day 14: Yesterday I had to take Ella to the pediatrician since she's been sick for 10 days, with an intermittent fever, and the pediatrician was concerned she might have an ear infection. Nothing came back as being particularly worrisome, and the verdict is that she has either a virus/very bad cold, and whatever it is simply has to run its course. Unfortunately in a baby her age, that might be up to three weeks. Great. I'm really hoping that it doesn't take three weeks to leave my system too. I'm thankful, though, that it isn't anything serious, and that we have great healthcare.

Day 15: I am thankful that we have an awesome public library system. I love reading, more than almost anything (except red velvet cake...joking), and I'm glad that I can indulge my love of books without it costing me a fortune. Our library here also has so many fantastic programs for children, and I really enjoy taking Ella to story time each week.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The dreaded T-word

Despite all the great things happening lately, I've been feeling a bit sad over the past few days. Why? Because of this conversation:

Friend: "Ella's getting to be such a big kid now."

Me: "No she's not."

Friend: "I'd say she's definitely a toddler now."

Me: "She's only 10 months old! She's a baby!" (Okay, I lie. She's really almost 11 months old. I'm in serious denial).

Friend: "Well, she does walk and talk, and she acts like a toddler."


Ever since then, I've started noticing all the ways in which my little itty baby isn't quite so little any more. There are some big ways, most notably the walking and talking. She eats regular table food. Her toys consist of "big kid" things like puzzles and blocks. Today she even made up some game that involved the teething rings and her hairbrush, and would give an exasperated sigh every time I clearly wasn't playing along correctly.

A small sampling of her "big kid" activities

And then there are the more subtle ways. These are the ones that are harder for my mommy heart to bear. She's not big into cuddling-sure, she'll give hugs, and there are days when she is clingy, but she no longer likes to sit in my lap just hanging out. I can't recall the last time she ended up falling asleep in my arms, or the last afternoon we spent together napping in bed. This afternoon I tried to nurse her to sleep for her nap, but once she was done, she rolled over and fussed until I put her in her crib.  

Used to be this was the only way she would take a nap

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that my child is healthy and is hitting all of her milestones. It's definitely bittersweet, though. Sometimes, as a mom, the days can drag by, then you look up at the calendar and realize that your baby's first birthday is coming up next month.

So is my child a toddler? The jury is still out on that one. According to the dictionary, a toddler is "one who walks with the short tottering steps in the manner of a young child." In my mind, though, she is not one...yet.

30 Days of Thanks: Days 10-13 (yes, I know I'm cheating)

We've been on the road again, this time back to Oklahoma for more house hunting. Since it's a bit hard to update my blog with no internet access (yes, I live in circa 2002 with no smart phone or latest Apple thingy), I'm cheating a bit and combining several days into one post.

Before we left, Ella was kind enough to share her illness with us. Nothing quite like getting on a flight looking like you are carrying the Black Plague. I'm sure everyone was thrilled to have us there.

To keep everything short, 14 houses and one entire package of DayQuil later, we figured out which house we wanted to make an offer on. Monday morning we made the offer, they countered while we were at lunch, and before we got on the plane to head back to Chicago we managed to come to an agreement with the sellers.

Even though I feel like I'm cheating by not having separate posts for the past few days, I think that a house is big enough to cover four days worth of thankfulness.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day Eight

Trying to plan out the logistics of our move to Oklahoma has been a huge source of stress. We have been assigned a relocation consultant, who is responsible for helping us arrange everything. Sounds great in theory, but in reality it means that everything has to get filtered a gazillion different ways before it can actually get done. For example, we needed to get a moving company. Jim has to call up our person. She then has to send us the list of approved moving companies. Jim has to send it to me, I have to say, "I don't care, they all look good, pick one," and he then has to call the relocation consultant back. She has to call up the moving company for us, then call us back saying it's okay for us to talk to them. After all of that, we can finally talk to someone about getting a moving truck. For a person who wants to get stuff done, and be in charge of everything, this is a nightmare.

We were told this morning that it would be next to impossible to get movers on any of the days that work with our schedule, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. When I got off the phone this morning, we were looking at the possibility of me having to stay up here for an extra month with Ella after Jim started his new job, because no one was willing to work with us.

Enter Ed. He is my hero in this whole situation. He spent this afternoon calling around and found people willing to be up here the day after Thanksgiving to pack up our stuff, and someone to come move it the week after. Maybe I have awesome powers of persuasion. Maybe it was the screaming child in the background. Maybe he's sympathetic to the plight of over-stressed moms. Whatever his reasons, I am thankful that he was willing to go the extra mile to help me out today.

The "do it all" mentality, or how I am really failing at being a mom

A couple of nights ago in one of my mommy groups, we started talking about how hard it is to "do it all;" that is, to take care of the kids, keep the house clean, make dinner, run errands, be a good wife, stay in touch with friends, and look like a supermodel. Moms who are in a career are made to feel like they are failing their children by not staying at home. Moms who stay home are made to feel like they are lacking in motivation, brains, or somehow less of a woman because they "don't" work. It seems to me that almost every woman I talk to about this subject says she feels like she is failing at doing something.

"My house is a wreck."
"We had take-out for dinner."
"I took the baby to daycare today even though I had the day off."
"My clothes are so frumpy."
"I fell asleep last night before we could have sex."
"I never make it to the gym."
"My baby doesn't go to music class (or signing class, or story time, or playgroup)."

None of those things are inherently bad, so why do we as women and mothers have such anxiety not getting to every last thing on our endless to-do lists?

I will admit, I'm definitely guilty of having this mentality. It's something I'm trying to work on. There have been days when I have broken down crying, telling Jim that I feel like I am failing as a wife and mom because I can't do it all.

Case in point: Mornings have turned into Jim's thing. I nurse Ella, she goes back to sleep for a little bit, and when she's up for good, Jim takes over until he leaves for work. Every morning, without fail, I feel bad that he feeds her breakfast, plays with her, and keeps her relatively quiet so I can sleep for an extra 30 minutes. I feel like I should be super-mom, and be out there with them making breakfast with a cheery smile on my face instead of the zombie look I sport until about 10am. It doesn't matter that I know logically that I need those 30 minutes, that if Ella gets up in the middle of the night I am the one to take care of her while Jim sleeps, that there are many days when I don't have a chance to sit down until 8pm, or even the fact that he likes getting to spend that time with her. I feel like I am failing my family by taking care of myself.

This idea that we can do it all is perhaps one of the biggest myths of our generation. As children we were told that we could be anything, do anything, have anything, so now we have turned into entitled adults who want everything, no matter how unrealistic a goal that is. We've been told that we can do it all, so we feel that we should do it all.

I don't have any great solution for how to change this mentality. I think a good first step is recognizing it for the falsehood it is. We as women need the help of our husbands, moms, and friends, and we need to be able to ask for that help without feeling bad about it. We need to think and believe that someone is not less of a woman for buying pre-made baby food, hiring someone to help with the housekeeping, or choosing to pass up a promotion at work because it would mean less time to spend with the family. We need to spend less time comparing ourselves and cutting each other down, and more time raising each other up when we stumble.

After all, I don't think our moms and grandmothers fought for our ability to be able to do anything so that we have to do it all. Rather than burdening us, our choices should make us feel empowered. I think somewhere along the line we have lost sight about what is important- that if our kids are happy and healthy, if we have a roof over our heads, some money stashed away for a rainy day, and a husband who loves and respects us, we're doing okay. And that maybe being "average mom" will make us happier than being "super mom."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day Seven

This week has not been kind to us here at Two Nerds. Daylight savings time, broken furnace, teething/possibly sick baby, late nights looking at house listings...I've definitely been stress-eating the leftover Halloween candy.

But then in the midst of everything, there are moments like this. The baby is in bed. Jim is still at work. Dogs are quietly napping. We're doing take-out for dinner (Just because. It's not someone's birthday or anything. This is a super rare occurrence). The house is relatively clean. Even if this moment only lasts for five minutes, it's five minutes where I don't have to do anything. And I'm beyond thankful for that.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day Six

Ah, election day. Also known as the day when my Facebook newsfeed is filled solely with political statuses.

I took Ella with me to vote today, and even though I know she won't remember, I want to set an example for her. I'm thankful that we have the right to vote, without fear for physical harm. And I'm thankful for the women who fought many years ago for my right to vote. I hope that Ella will grow up to recognize the importance of having an informed political opinion and will never be afraid to make her voice heard. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day Five

As with any job, being a stay at home mom means you get some good days, and then you get some craptastic days. Today would be one of the latter. I woke up to muddy paw prints all over my clean kitchen floor (thanks dogs), and the day went downhill from there. By lunchtime I was already battling a massive headache, which was not helped by Ella's three-hour long impersonation of a banshee.

Enter Jim's armpits. Yes, you read that right. This afternoon, he had to go get the drug test that's required of all new employees. They needed a hair sample, and apparently to obtain the necessary amounts of hairs, they had to partially shave his armpits. Whoever did it did the world's worst job. You would think that the armpit-shaver would have simply done the entire thing. Instead, they left little random tufts of hair. Perhaps this makes me a bad wife, or an overly tired one, but I find this to be hilarious.

To whoever gave me this fantastic gift tonight, I thank you, for making my crummy day a little better, and for making me remember that while I may have to put up with a lot, at least my job does not involve shaving strangers' armpits.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day Four

Nothing quite like having the furnace break (again) to make you appreciate having heat. As we were heading off to bed last night, I told Jim that the house seemed awfully cold. He checked the thermostat, and sure enough, it read out 68 degrees. After several valiant efforts to get the furnace to kick on, we decided that as it was already after midnight, we would put on some warm pajamas, pile on the blankets, turn on the space heater, and have Ella sleep with us for warmth. By the morning the thermometer read 53 degrees. Brr.

Our furnace repairman was able to make it out here by 9am, and restored heat within about fifteen minutes. So today, I'm thankful that we have our awesome furnace repairman and that we once again have heat. Although as great as he is, I really hope not to have to see him again.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day Three

Six years ago, Jim took me out on our first date. I'm thankful he worked up the courage to (finally) ask me out on that first date.

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day Two

Today I'm thankful for caffeine. Coffee, lattes, espresso, tea- I don't think I could get through the day without them. I love that Jim will often have coffee brewing for me when I wake up, or set up the machine so all I have to do is press the "on" button to get things going. Afternoon tea during Ella's nap helps me get through those cranky hours between her dinner and bedtime. My love of all things caffeinated is so well-known that when there was a Living Social deal for Starbucks, I had a gazillion people email me making sure I knew and could purchase the deal. Uncaffeinated Elise looks like a zombie, and is just as likely to rip off your head. Caffeinated Elise is a much happier, sweeter person. Although interrupt me while I'm drinking that first cup at your own peril.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day One

For the month of November, in addition to my regular posts, I'm going to be posting a series of things I am thankful for. We started doing this in one of my mommy groups and I thought it was a fantastic idea, particularly since I find I tend to get mired down in focusing on everything that is going wrong in my life instead of everything that is going right. Some will be serious, some will be silly, but all will be things that I am truly grateful to have in my life. 

Day One

I am thankful to have been blessed with such an amazing family. My husband, who loves me despite all the craziness he has to put up with on a daily basis. My daughter, who is healthy, happy, growing, learning, and who always can put a smile on my face. Our extended families- parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins- who are there for us through thick and thin, despite the miles that separate us. And our two doggy companions, Dougal and Crilly, who provide entertainment, exercise, and lots of slobbery kisses.