New blog!

The bad thing about blogs with themes is that when the theme is sort of over in that blogger's life, the blog tends to not make much sense anymore. 

Thus, I am stretching my legs over at Humzoo! My new blog is more general, but I've sort of begun talking about food a lot, which is ok, because I will always be eating. 

Check me out!


Mud Season

Skip, Story, and I just got back from an awesome family vacation to Breckenridge, Colorado. It was kind of surreal, seeing as how we've been planning this trip for over a year, and my mom said a year ago, "Story will be about 7 months by then, you'll need a vacation." And then that prediction came true! Story was 7 months and I did need a vacation!

So, of course CO was beautiful. I'd never been before, but an aunt and uncle of mine lived there for several years, and one of my best friends did too, so I'd heard it was incredible, but to actually experience it was a whole other kind of incredible. Skip and I got to hand Story off to all kinds of willing babysitters and sleep in and lounge around and take a long bike ride. Incredible.

Unfortunately, we were there during the in-between season called "Mud Season" where lots of places were only open on the weekends and we didn't realize it until the weekend was over. This caused us to miss out on some amazingly huge cookies and delicious wheat beer (that we were finally able to track down after a couple tries). Eating is important to us. Otherwise the trip was a huge success.

But now, I am experiencing my own Mud Season. I have the post-vacation blues really bad. Seriously. Taking care of Story is no problem, but having to make dinner? Going to work? Living in a house that isn't spotless because someone came in a cleaned it for me? Ugh. It's been almost a week, and I only just now feel like I'm finally snapping out of it. 

I would much rather be here...


Mum's Day

It was awesome. I have to say, the coolest part of Mother's Day weekend was going to Skip's mom's church and getting a corsage. All the moms there were allowed to take a corsage, just a simple carnation with baby's breath and a leaf, and my mother-in-law told me to pick one out and then pinned it on my shirt. It was pretty cool.

The emotions and memories that come from the different stages of becoming a mom and a parent for the first time are kind of overwhelming at times. While I kind of hated pregnancy, I do have to admit that it really was such a special time and I get kind of jealous of other women who are pregnant with their first. While I could have done without the unsolicited advice and the bags and bags of baby clothes people gave me to sort through, I love looking back at that time and I get kind of sentimental at the thought of never being able to go through it again.

Same thing with my first Mother's Day. It made me feel really great for people to wish me a happy day, and it was neat to finally understand and appreciate what telling someone "Happy Mother's Day!" can mean to them.



I am kind of anti-fun. Hear me out, because it's not entirely my fault. Mostly, I hate change. Hear me out. Generally, when something fun comes up, it means a change from my normal routine, and this stresses me out. I only partly blame my mom (kidding, Mom!). When we were kids, we were on a pretty regular routine. I understand this now, because even with one kid it helps to have a this-is-the-way-things-run-on-a-daily-basis thing going; it helps minimize the chaos. My mom had 3 kids and was a stay-at-homer until we were in junior high, so I totally respect her need for a schedule. Plus, you read everywhere that kids function better when they know what to expect, so fine. A schedule it is.

Mother's Day is this weekend, and I am super excited, but I've had to really amp myself up. My husband has a day planned for us on Saturday, and we will spend Sunday with The Moms. Usually, Saturday is my husband's day to sleep in while I take care of Story, and then on Sunday I get to sleep in while he takes her. I'm assuming that since Saturday is technically my Mother's Day, I will get to sleep in. Change number one. Number two, I won't get up and do laundry and try to get some degree of cleanliness in our house. Number three, I will kind of be the center of attention instead. I hate being the center of attention.

I guess I am not so much anti-fun as I am anti-change, which makes it hard for me to enjoy fun. I don't really like surprises, and I'm really bad at being any kind of focal point.

...Ok fine, I'm anti-fun. But I'm really trying!


My Life in a Suburb

I wrote the following piece almost two years ago exactly as a guest blogger for my friend Josh. I came across it again and thought I would post it. I haven't updated it (save a few grammatical changes), deciding that I liked it as is. It gives a small glimpse into my life in the suburbs. Maybe I'll change the theme of this blog...

Ah, suburbia. Growing up, I never quite understood what all the fuss was about. Actually, I don’t even think I paid much attention to the term suburbia. I grew up in a town of roughly 24,000 in southern Illinois just outside of St. Louis. That there was a difference between the city and the suburbs never occurred to me. The city was 20 miles away; I could see the Arch from a couple streets over from my house.

Afterwards graduating from a small college town even further south in Illinois, I moved to Chicago. Now that is a city. I lived for six months, at one point, without a car. It was surprisingly easy. I took public transportation to work and everywhere else. As a temp I even worked on the 28th floor in one of those huge skyrises downtown on Michigan Avenue. I volunteered with inner city kids. I saw just as many white people as Asian or African American or Indian. I worked in two restaurants across from the Art Institute (and volunteered in the Art Institute) and saw every kind of tourist there could be.

Two years later, I moved back to the where town I grew up, and another two years later I’m still here. Now there is a difference. And not only is there a difference, but I damn well know it and can see it. It even bothers me a little bit.

I’m not quite sure if it’s because I am back to where I started, an observation I noted as I walked through the Wal-Mart (yes, Wal-Mart) where I bought my first training bra and my friend shoplifted and my mom bought the material for my First Communion dress. Or maybe it’s because everyone here is fat and white. The “city” of St. Louis is so quiet downtown that, after living and working in bustling downtown Chicago, I can barely bring myself to call it a city. Either way, it’s unsettling. Am I glad I live in suburbia?

In suburbia’s defense, I hated Chicago. Well, I was unhappy at least. I missed my family and I missed having grass around me. I felt trapped, knowing that if I wanted to drive out of the city I had about a five hour window where I could leave and not get caught in amazing traffic. If I wanted to go somewhere, I had to wait 20 minutes for a bus. The city was different, and I guess I didn’t totally like it.

But I do miss having different people around me. I remember once, at an outdoor festival here, I saw an Asian couple. I couldn’t stop looking at them and wondered at my fascination with them for a good 30 minutes before I realized, “Oh! They’re not white!” I miss having restaurants around me that aren’t chains. I miss being able to walk outside and be by myself but still be surrounded by people. The only time I get to listen to my iPod is when I run.

There are no sidewalks here, and small towns are very pedestrian unfriendly. People look at me like, “Do you need a ride? Why are you walking?” My best friend, who still lives in Chicago visited me recently and laughed at how close the grocery store is. We drove there.

I now live in a house. That I bought. With my husband. I have a commute in a car. I work in a cubicle. I’ve gained five pounds. I have a yard that needs to be mowed. I have walls that need to be painted. In about three years, the pressure to have kids will no doubt start knocking on my mind. But I have grass (that is too tall), and I have my family (that screams dysfunction), and I have my car (that I spend so much time in it feels like a second home). There are days when I am inside cleaning and doing laundry and my husband is working in the yard or on the house. We have two dogs.

So, who knows. This is suburbia. This is the Midwest. This is where I live now. This is the part of the country that has a close-minded, redneck, fat and white stereotype. Besides its pros and cons, I just have to admit to myself: I’m a country girl. I’d just rather live here. But despite my access to my own vehicle (one that is not a minivan, although I wonder if one day I’ll cave), suburbia has its own way of making me feel slightly trapped.

Author's note: I recently purchased a cross-over vehicle (read station wagon) with my husband. For our baby. Welcome to the rest of my life.


Let go.

Most of you know my love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. One day I love it, the next day I hate it and I'm giving up. Starting back to work has been a hassle of pumping and trying to keep up.

Recently I let go and finally stopped trying to kill myself and gave my daughter a few bottles of formula while she is at her babysitters 3 times a week. If my husband and I go out for a date, I don't try to kill myself to make sure enough is pumped and I let her have another bottle of formula. The girl is still mostly breastfed, but the stress is gone now that I've allowed myself to give her some formula. A less stressed out mom is better for everyone. I also don't resent breastfeeding anymore.

Then I saw the video of Salma Hayek breastfeeding another woman's baby in Africa. The baby was hungry, and her mother wasn't lactating due to malnutrition. Salma was still nursing her daughter, so she agreed to feed this baby. The look of gratefulness and peace on that baby's face as Salma fed her broke my heart. And to think I hated doing it and I'm having such an easy time with it.

A co-worker told me, as I whined about having to go pump, "You can do it!" and she rubbed my shoulders Rocky-style. We talked for a while about breastfeeding (she nursed her son until he was 13 months old, which is what most doctor's recommend). She said her in-laws weren't the most supportive people about her nursing her son. I never understood that, how people could be UN-supportive about something that is the absolute best for your child. I mean, I've had my days of absolutely hating it, but I never denied that it was what was best for Story. Anyway, she told me how she would nurse anywhere, just pulled out her nursing cover and went for it. She did it at restaurants, her in-laws' house, anywhere. That kind of amazed me. I could never do that.

Finally, yet another co-worker, a woman about my mom's age, told me that it was because I was breastfeeding that Story was doing so well. She's big and healthy and happy and already teething at 4 months old. She told me she still has dreams about nursing her two girls. That really touched me.

So last night, instead of stressing out about Story being hungry in a restaurant, I asked my husband to get my nursing cover out, and I let go and fed Story right there at the table. It was weird, I'm not going to lie, and we totally freaked out our waitress, but it was ok. You can't see anything because the cover is so big, and it helped that the restaurant wasn't very busy and we were seated at a booth instead of a table in the middle of the place, but still, I was so proud of myself. 

I am not anti-formula. It's every woman's decision how she wants to feed her baby. I will continue to give Story several bottles of formula a week to keep myself sane. But medical reasons aside, I hope everyone at least tries to nurse her baby. When I work from home and all weekend, I will nurse Story every time. Give it a couple weeks, read all about it before you give birth, and just try it. It's a pretty amazing thing. Its taken me 4 and a half months, but I finally appreciate how much it means to Story to do this for her. I've fought against it for so long, stressing out about where I would be if she needed to eat, not wanting her to fuss and disrupt others around us, but last night I finally just gave in a let go and did it. And in the end, my husband and I (and Story too) just enjoyed our meal out, without stressing or worrying or fussing, and I finally had one of those content evenings that I've been wanting for so long. I just had to let it happen.



I feel blue. I mean, I'm not really upset, but just... blue. 

After having Story, things just aren't the same. Obviously, they aren't. I don't mean it in an obvious way. I mean it in a way like... things just aren't the same. 

I don't know how to juggle everything. I don't know how people work 5 days a week at jobs where they have actual work to do, unlike my job that consists of not a lot of work and a lot of Facebook checking. I don't know how people have organized houses. I don't know how people squeeze time in for hobbies. I was thinking about it the other day: I don't even know what my hobbies are. I don't know how people have time to do anything other than what is absolutely necessary for life: laundry, dishes, groceries, and trips to Target. I don't have time to clean my house. How do people do it? How do people spend quiet evenings at home together? How do people spend quiet evenings at home with their family? I can't figure it out, and therefore, I kind of feel like a big, fat failure. Why aren't I better at doing this? 

How do people do it? 

I miss lots of things too. I miss listening to music. I miss being any kind of "indie." I miss my Chuck Taylors. 

I feel old. I feel old.