17 June 2009

Birth Story: Part 1

Since I have nothing exciting to share today, I thought I would recount the birth story of Gabe. Hopefully to be followed at a not-so-distant time in the future by the birth story of Nick.

Pigpen and I were married on October 30th, 2004. It was a beautiful ceremony at the main post church on Ft. Meade. I wore my mother’s wedding dress (altered to fit). I went with a fall color scheme of red, orange, and yellow. My friend Jen and Pigpen’s sister were my bridesmaids. They wore simple floor-length red dresses. The best man was Pigpen’s brother and his other attendant was my brother. I used fake flowers for the bouquets, and still have mine to this day.

We honeymooned for a week in Hawaii, it was beautiful and magical, and everything a honeymoon should be. I discovered I was pregnant three weeks later – which happened to be a few days after my 23rd birthday. Of course the timing couldn’t have been worse, even if we had agreed to a let’s see what happens approach to having a baby. So Gabe was definitely planned, I just wasn’t expecting him so soon.

You see, in June I had reenlisted for three years with a two-year guaranteed assignment in Colorado. Pigpen and I had planned to do the time apart until he got out in January. We would have spent every holiday weekend available together and used our leave for additional time. We would have made it work. We had just sold our townhouse in Maryland and I had scheduled the date for the movers to come pick up our stuff. We were about to sign a contract for a townhouse in Colorado.

And I was pregnant. That changed everything. I had no desire to be alone in Colorado AND pregnant. There was no guarantee that Pigpen would be able to make it in time for the birth, and then I would be dealing with a newborn mainly by myself. So we tried to get him an assignment out there, with little success. So instead I chose to leave the Army and stay in Maryland.

Pigpen was so excited about the baby that he actually tried to plan me a surprise baby shower. His mom and sister drove up for it. His mom had made a diaper cake and planned games. Unfortunately all my friends sucked and none of them showed up (most of them missed my wedding too, hmmm…), although a couple friends of Pigpen’s came. It was very sweet and I really appreciated the thought and effort.

I then had to find a regular job, hopefully one in Virginia, because that’s where Pigpen is from. Also, his mother has always been a stay-at-home mom and wanted to be the only one to watch the new baby. Which is how I ended up in Northern Virginia. The military hospital I was using for my OB was in Bethesda, which was about a 45-minute drive from our apartment.

I did not end up starting my new job until three weeks before I was due, which of course I made sure was known before I was hired. That was interesting. Here I am, 37 weeks pregnant and starting a new job. I stayed with my in-laws while Pigpen was up in Maryland cleaning up our apartment before our move to Virginia. We moved the week before Gabe was due and spent the weekend prior getting his room set up. I was so worried we wouldn’t have everything set up in time.

The theme for his room was the Original Pooh and the furniture was purchased from J.C. Penney. My MIL made a number of items for his room, including a cover for his Boppy, extra sheets, and a diaper stacker. I can still picture his room in my mind. The mirrored doors that ran the length of one wall. The big window with his rocking chair sitting in front of it. His dresser and changing table were right next to each other, and his crib was right by the door. His bassinet was kept under the window in our bedroom.

The ladies I worked with were very sweet and actually planned a baby shower for me on August 2nd, about a week before my August 6th due date.Unfortunately, my baby boy decided that he didn’t want to wait until the 6th and I started having contractions around 3:00 pm on the 1st. It was funny; all the ladies were so disappointed that there wouldn’t be cake. Also, Pigpen was currently at our company headquarters signing the paperwork for his new job. It wasn’t ideal, since it was a shift work job, which included nights and weekends. However, the pay was good, and well, he needed a job, since he had just been med boarded from the military.

He had dropped me off at work that morning, so he raced over to my office to pick me up, and I insisted he go back and finish signing the paperwork, since that would be one less thing to worry about and the contractions had only just started. Afterwards we grabbed a bite to eat at Wendy’s.

I was up most of the night with the contractions, often pacing. I got to see what the mucus plug looks like (ewwww). I also called the hospital a couple times. Finally around 5 in the morning we drove to the hospital. There was an express exit near our apartment, which was open in the direction we needed to head. However, Pigpen was so worried about getting to the hospital in time that he was speeding, and of course we got pulled over. Luckily the officer was nice and let us go with a warning, since I was in labor.

The contractions were super painful at this point and all I wanted was to be checked in and given drugs. I am not the natural type. Pain? No thank you. They examined me as soon as I got settled into a birthing room, and told me that I was already 9cm dilated, was I sure I wanted an epidural? I said, yes, of course, as long as there is time to give it to me. Thankfully there was, since Gabe was delivered about two hours later at 7:04 a.m. via forceps. Apparently he had gotten the cord caught around his neck halfway out, so they used forceps to pull him out.

His arrival coincided with shift change, so his distress prompted my room to be filled with two shifts worth of doctors and nurses. My hoohaw was on display for everyone to see. Although I didn’t really care because my baby was in distress, and dammit I want to see my baby. Pigpen was not able to cut the cord because he was taken to be examined as soon as he was out to ensure he was all right. He weighed in at 6 lbs, 13.9 oz and was 19 inches long.

All I wanted was my baby, and of course he needed to be fully examined. I was so anxious, I hadn’t had much experience with babies and suddenly my baby is here, and was he all right? It was much longer before I finally got to hold him. We tried breastfeeding, but that was a frustrating process. He got supplemented with formula a lot during our three-day stay. He also was taken to the NICU a few times to be examined since he was diagnosed with a heart murmur, which he still has.

Those first few weeks and months flew by so quickly. It took so long to heal from the delivery. I did not receive an episiotomy, and due to the method of delivery, I ended up with a third degree tare. I remember shortly after we came home from the hospital, maybe a day or two later, Pigpen forced me to take a walk. We only walked out of our apartment complex to the corner, and yet it was so painful.

The first few weeks were great, because he was on leave from the military, and hadn’t started his new job yet. So we were home together. It was after that, when I was still on maternity leave, and often alone with Gabe that things got harder. Or when Pigpen was working nights and weekends and I was working during the week. I was so tired and Gabe would often cry for hours on end and nothing I would do would get him to stop. In the evenings I would often call my MIL to come over to help me. Because I was alone. And desperate for him to stop crying.

Breastfeeding didn’t work out very well for us. We didn’t bond well to begin with, and getting a latch was always difficult. So he was partially formula-fed pretty much from day one. Also, my job at the time, didn’t really have a place for me to pump while at work. I mean, there was a health office in the basement that had a couple rooms, but I worked on the fourth floor, on the opposite side of the building. So I only pumped once a day at lunch. Also, I had a Playtex pump, that didn’t seem to be powerful enough to get much milk.

I continued nursing Gabe in the mornings before I dropped him off at my MIL’s and in the evenings before I he went to bed. I also managed to pump about three ounces at lunch. However, by six months he was officially uninterested, preferring a bottle or pacifier to suck on over me. He adored his pacifier from the moment the nurses first gave him one at the hospital. In his newborn picture his lips are pursed and his eyes are staring off to the side because we removed his pacifier right before the photo was taken and he’s staring at it, waiting to get it back.

We moved from our apartment to a townhouse a few months after Gabe was born. The months flew by so quickly with Gabe. I remember that he was a pumpkin for his first Halloween, at the advanced age of three months. We went over to my MIL's, while she gave out candy. I don't remember exactly when he learned to sit up or pull himself to standing, but I do remember that his first word was "ba" (ball). I remember that he loved to zoom around with a little push cart that assisted him with walking. His first step occurred on the August 6th, which was the Sunday after his first birthday party and I have it on camera.

His first birthday party was at my MIL's on August 5th. The theme was Curious George, because he loves monkeys. I made the carrot cake and frost recipe from What to Expect the First Year. The guest list was small, with only three children in attendence - my MIL's neighbor's grandchild who is a month and a half younger, my coworkers daughter, and his 2nd cousin. I made the mistake of trying to open gifts at the party.

He started gym classes at 13 months, and made some good friends in those classes, we still hang out with them to this day. I loved those early gym classes, with Pigpen and I both in the room with him. It's one of the things I regret we can't do for Nick. Gabe's first gym class was traumatic - he spent most of the time crying and clinging to Pigpen or me. However, the second went much better and he quickly grew to love going. Shortly after that we moved from the townhouse we were renting to an apartment.

At 18 months, he figured out how to climb out of his crib, but not how to do it without falling. We choose to convert his crib to a toddler bed, which made bedtime so much more difficult, since he could now get out of bed to voice his complaints. Had I known about those cool mesh crib nets that you can put over top of cribs, I think I would have opted for that over the toddler bed, but hindsight is 20/20.

His 2nd birthday party was at a moon bounce place, which we had discovered when we attended the birthday party of one of his friends from gym class. The theme was again Curious George. His cake was from Costco, although my MIL also made him a cake. We invited most of the children from his gym class, as well as his cousin. It was a great party. We did not open the gifts at the party, having learned by attending other parties, that it wasn't what people did at parties.

We did a lot of fun things during his third year, despite me being all pregnant with Nick. We went to the National Zoo and the local petting zoo a couple of times. We also moved again, this time from an apartment to another townhouse. His 3rd birthday part was held at the Little Gym. During the previous year he had discovered Playhouse Disney, so the theme he choose was Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Again we chose to purchase his cake from Costco. His close friends attended, as well as the daughters of one of my coworkers.

I started blogging a few months after his 3rd birthday, so most of the stories that come afterwards are held in this blog. I'm trying so hard to capture my memories, so that I have them in years to come. Many are very foggy already, and he's not even four. I don't want to forget. That's why I started blogging. That's why I'm working so hard to get a handle on our pictures. Because I always want to be able to remember.

12 June 2009

I Was Warned

Today was Gabe's big show for his sports class. He did such a great job. It was adorable. There were six kids present today, and no suprise, they were all little boys. They had practiced an intro where they each came running in, walked across a balance beam, and then threw a Frisbee into a *donut*. Gabe did a really good job of listening.

After the intro, they got a few minutes of free time while the instructors set up the stations. On the big red mat, they showed off their sports skills, and on the other side of the room they showed off their bar skills. Gabe was great.

The skills they had practiced this session t-ball, hockey, and golf. First they threw a ball overhand, then they caught it underhand, then they hit it. Next they hit a ball into a net with a hockey stick. Finally they hit a golf ball under half a donut into a hole. On the other side, he did a bar routine which involved switching grips on the bar and a couple of different hangs.

he whole class was wonderful. He was adorable. He was so excited to have Pigpen and I there. It was very sweet. I really enjoyed watching his class, and I loved how excited he was. It made me so very happy. I adore him. My beautiful baby boy, he's almost 4.


Gabe finds Nick's eating habits very amusing. The other night we were eating Thai food (I made macaroni and cheese, PB&Js, and chopped strawberries for the boys). Nick was very interested in both the rice and the Pad Thai noodles. Gabe made the comment that "Nick's a little garbage disposal, he eats anything." I laughed. I'm sure it's something he's heard his grandma say, but it's still so cute to hear it coming from him.


Tonight Pigpen and I had a date. We went after work to the Taste of Reston at the Reston Town Center. There was a ton of great food, plus a lot of cool things at the booths. I think I got four or five Frisbees for the boys. Also there was wine, good wine. And strawberries dipped in melted chocolate from the Melting Pot. It was wonderful.

We walked up and down, enjoying our food. Also, we went in a few of the stores to browse, which I always enjoy. We didn't buy anything at the town centre, but followed it up with a trip to Target. Where we most certainly did buy a few things, including some more t-shirts for the boys. I really have a thing for cute cheap t-shirts for them.


A couple weeks ago, Nick had a cold that kept lingering, so we took him to his pediatrician where he was diagnosed with an ear infection. We followed the course of antibiotics, but afterwards it still seemed like his ear was bothering him, but he's also getting a couple new teeth in, so we just figured that was the issue.

This past weekend he came down with another cold, and over the past week he has developed a rash all over his chest, also a few random splotches on his arms and legs. So after we picked up the boys from my MIL's this evening, we took Nick to our local urgent care.

The doctor told us the rash wasn't anything to worry about, but we need to keep an eye on the splotches. If they develop white *heads*, he could have chicken pox. She also checked out his ears, and determined that he still had an ear infection. So we got a higher dosage of antibiotics.

Poor baby, teething, an ear infection, and a rash. Plus both the boys were up past their bedtime. However, I am really glad we took him in. We know what to look for with his rash, and also can hopefully get rid of his ear infection this time.

However, I am not looking forward to the future contents of his diapers. At least I was warned.

11 June 2009

Class Act

I totally can’t get rid of this cold. It’s been a week and I don’t even feel marginally better. I am all sniffly and hacking and phlegmy. It’s awful. I’m also cold all the time. Unless I’m like directly in the sun. And then I’m not cold.

I suppose if I’m not feeling better by Monday, I might have to schedule a dreaded doctor’s appointment. I really hate scheduling a doctor’s appointment. That’s probably why my local urgent care has a better record on me than my doctor does. However, I also don’t want to still be sick when we go to the beach, and if I have an actual infection, I might want to get started on an antibiotic course sooner rather than later.


Last night was Nick’s last gym class of the spring session. They practiced some of their big skills they’ve been working on, which related to rolls. First they did a forward roll on the balance beam. Then they did a forward roll down a wedge followed by a reverse roll over something they call a hot dog.

Nick loves to do rolls and eagerly ran to be the first one to do both. However, that was his only desire to participate. While he does like the bells for the intro, he didn’t want to participate in the warm up. Nor did he want to have anything to do with the Air Track. Gabe, unfortunately, was very eager and dived on with little regard for all the small children, a few who still can’t walk. I felt bad for him when he had to be removed so that the babies could crawl around.

Since we needed to have time for the certificates, balls and bubbles were combined, which Nick thought was the greatest thing ever. He couldn’t decide what he wanted to do. Chase bubbles? Play with balls? I’m so confused. Before the closing circle, the teacher gave out certificates for the children and had them each pose on a large block mat with their arms raised for “ta-da” for pictures.

I enjoy gym class, and miss the ability for Pigpen and I to both attend, like we did with Gabe. Next week starts summer session, which will be at the same time and with the same age group. Only with a different instructor. However, she is our favorite instructor, so that will be good. In the fall, Nick will move up a class and we will start going on Saturdays instead, since we feel that 6:15 on a weeknight is too late for class.

Gabe will not be taking a gym class this summer. Instead he will be doing Vacation Bible School at the church he attends with my MIL. In addition he will also do a three-day “camp” at the gym. He was signed up for his sports class at the gym originally, but ended up being the only child signed up for the time slot, so it got canceled. His usually time slot will be back in the fall.


We looked at a couple rental house on Tuesday, and while we realize they won’t be available when we’re ready to move, we were trying to get an idea of the size and features they had. We may not even move, but we are thinking about. Unfortunately neither house was in the boundaries for the elementary school we want Gabe to attend.

We’re finding out that to get Gabe into this school gives us a surprisingly small selection of house to choose from. I suppose he doesn’t have to go to this school, but one of his friends is going to go there, and if we’re planning to stay in this community and will need to move into a house eventually, why not try to ensure he’s in the same school?

The first house we looked at wasn’t bad, and would have been fine if it had either had a third bathroom upstairs or a finished basement. When we move into a house my MIL is moving in with us and we would like her to have her own bathroom. The master suite always has its own (at least in new homes around here) and so a bathroom for the boys and a separate bathroom for her is desirable.

The second house was beautiful, but a little more than we wanted to spend on a rental. And again, not in the boundaries for the elementary school. It had four bedrooms with 3 baths upstairs, plus a large finished basement with a bedroom and a bath. Also, I’m not so sure about taking care of a house that size. I realize that I won’t always be balancing work, parenting young children, and school, but I struggle to take care of our townhouse, even with it being cleaned every other week.

I’m not sure what the right answer is. I don’t know if we should try to move into a rental house this summer or stay put and wait until next summer and maybe try to buy something. I just worry that we won’t be ready to buy next summer, which means Gabe will definitely be going to a different elementary school. And I don’t know if that really matters.

08 June 2009


Sniffle, snort, glrrck, hack, sniff. Excuse me, sorry. Seems I managed to come down with a bit of a cold this weekend. Between the sniffling and the coughing and the mucus and the sore throat I feel awful. Also, the chills and body aches in the evening. That’s an added bonus. And yet, I still made it to work today. I even came back after dropping my friend off at the airport.

Of course, I have like no vacation days, and am planning to take a beach trip at the end of the month, so I really didn’t have much choice.


My weekend passed by way too quickly, as they usually do. I picked my friend up Thursday morning and dropped her off at my house so she could nap before returning to work for a little bit. I then took a few hours of leave and left early to grab lunch with Pigpen since we won’t have much time alone together this weekend. We had Red Robin, which involved a delicious salad. And lest you think I was being *good*, lunch also included a Rookie Magic shake.

He picked up the boys so I could go straight home and see my friend. As Pigpen remarked many times, we are very different. We always have been, and yet we were very good friends. It was so nice to see her. I’m so glad she came. We ordered pizza from Papa John’s and also picked up some sushi. I know, what a combination, but it was good. The boys just ate pizza.

On Friday, we had breakfast at Bob Evans and then caught the metro from Vienna to D.C. It is amazing how long it can take to look through one museum, and we didn’t even see all of it. Our choice was the National Museum of American History, which is amazing. We spent the longest amount of time looking at the War exhibit.

We got downtown about 10:30. We didn’t pause until almost 1:00 when we finally decided it was time for lunch. Lunch was ridiculously overpriced and we split both a sandwich and a bag of chips. We finished up with the science exhibit. I was particularly entertained by the large display they had on the evolution of birth control pills and the controversies that surround them.

Once we were done with the museum we stopped in one of the gift shops where I picked up a magnet and postcard of President Obama for Gabe. Then we went to look at the Washington and Lincoln monuments. It took us two hours to get from the museum, see both monuments, and get back to the metro. The Lincoln monument is very cool, and I managed to get a completely clear shot of the entire statue.

The only thing that sucked about our day downtown was the rain. It wasn’t really raining hard, so it didn’t hinder our sight-seeing, but the drizzle was annoying. However, it did limit the amount of tourists that were outside. Unfortunately a number of schools decided it was a great day for a field trip, so the museum was very crowded.


After the museums we came home and I helped get the boys fed and ready for bed. Pigpen picked up Ruby Tuesday’s for dinner. The book I ordered and wanted to read Gabe is The Giving Tree. It surprised me that we didn’t already have a copy, but it has now become Gabe’s favorite story. I’ve read it every night since he first heard it on Thursday.

After the boys were in bed, we went driving while Pigpen stayed home to be with the boys and do homework. I showed her a bunch of the neighborhoods in the area while we talked. Before we came home we stopped and got some ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery. I made the mistake of trying their new butterscotch pudding flavor, and I thought it was way too sweet. I think I’ll stick to their basic flavors next time.


Saturday morning Pigpen had to go into work for an hour so we went to the playground for a little bit, and then the mall for a little shopping. I ended up with a really cute polo in dark blue with a dragon fly graphic from Old Navy. My friend picked up a skirt from H&M. As a reward for being so good while we shopped, we took the boys on the Merry-Go-Round (yes, the Dulles Town Centre has both a Merry-Go-Round and a train with a *conductor* that drives around the mall).

They both had a good time. Nick loved riding the horse as it went up and down. Gabe really wanted to ride in the *cup* that you can turn in circles, but I there were older kids already in the cup and I didn’t want us to be separated. He still enjoyed riding the horse.

After the mall we met Pigpen for lunch at Moby Dick’s, which is an awesome Mediterranean restaurant. The flat bread with their cucumber yogurt sauce is excellent and all their meat is so tender. Also rice, lots of rice.

In the afternoon we went to our community’s carnival. This is the third year that we’ve gone. They’ve upgraded since the first year I went. They now accept credit cards and have an ATM at in the carnival. That’s nice since it was a pain to show up without cash (okay, I should have known better, but I spaced) and have to go someplace else to get some so that Gabe could have a snack and go on some rides.

Gabe has had a great time every year. We met up with our friends about hour after we got there. Gabe had already gone on a few rides, as well as the moon bounces (we got him the unlimited ride bracelet). Once they arrived the three kids (Gabe and their two girls) stopped at a few of the child-friendly booths, went on a few more rides, and then we went to get snacks.

Originally Gabe’s last soccer practice was supposed to be today, but it had rained so much the last few days that the fields were really muddy, so they cancelled all practices despite the warm weather we had on Saturday. His last practice will now be next Saturday.

After we were finished with the carnival we went to Bertucci’s for dinner, which was very good. In addition to the typical kid’s menus with color crayons, they also have real dough for the kids to play with that can be made into shapes and then baked. Gabe thought that was really cool, and was more than happy to eat the results. Bread usually goes over well. Nick, as usual, wanted to try everything. He particularly liked the rigatoni noodles because they were round and hollow so he could stick them on his fingers.


On Sunday we went to see Up with our friends rather than go to the Aquarium. Just like with Monsters Vs. Aliens, I missed the end of the movie because Nick was too restless. Instead I spent that time following Nick as he walked up and down the hallway. Pigpen took him out for about 10-15 during the first part of the movie and then I spent the rest of the time trying to entertain him.

What I did see of the movie I enjoyed a lot. Although, I agree with all the comments I’ve heard that it really wasn’t appropriate for the preschool set. This is, of course, the ages of the children that we had in attendance (14 mo, 2.5 years, 3.5 years, 4). It was a beautiful movie, and wonderful in 3D, but the themes were very adult, and some of the scenes were a little scary for small children. It was not nearly as delightful as WALL-E. Next summer we will get Toy Story 3, which I think will be a great movie watching experience. The kids will be older and it’s a movie about toys.


After the movie Pigpen and I took Gabe and Nick for a drive so that Nick could sleep and Gabe could hopefully calm down after the high he’s been on all weekend. It also involved a stop at the grocery store. Nick did sleep, and stayed asleep the whole time, unfortunately, Gabe did not spend the time chilling, and instead chose to have a major freaking tantrum. OMG, it was the tantrum that would not end! It lasted like three hours!

Finally he calmed after a bath, and then ate dinner in his PJs. He was agreeable for stories and went to sleep relatively easily. I’m sure he was exhausted. Between having a guest, the carnival, the movie, and the tantrum, I’m sure he was worn out.

Once the boys were in bed we played Scattergories, which is a favorite game of mine. So easy to play, yet entertaining. Perhaps I’m just easily entertained. Then again, I am a parent, I find amusement in the antics of small children. I had tea (with honey and whiskey) and a blueberry muffin filled with cream cheese as a snack… so tasty. Pastries stuffed with cream cheese, so good. A particular favorite is the pumpkin ones that Starbucks has in the fall and winter… mmmmm (and you wonder why I have a hard time sticking to a diet).


I had a great time with my friend this weekend and was sad to see her leave. It was nice having someone who new me in high school and still liked me. I just worried that she didn’t have a good time. Other than Friday we really didn’t get a chance to just hang out and talk with out the boys. Like we used to. We used to spend hours driving around just talking about nothing. And everything.

Our lives are very different these days. Not that we were ever that similar. It just seems more glaring now that we’ve become adults. Now that our differences have shown up in our life paths. Still, I really enjoyed her company. I’ve missed having friends. I’ve missed having her as a friend. It’s been almost nine years, really. I saw her briefly on one trip home while in the military, but that was it since we graduated.

I hope we can stay in touch. I wish the time difference didn’t make things so difficult. Trying to find time to connect on the phone is challenging. Three hours can make a huge difference. Still, there is e-mail… even if it’s not the same.

02 June 2009

Young at Heart

Sometimes I think that I must be the only women my age with small children. Because the parents of all my friends are much older than me, heck they’re older than Pigpen too, who has five years on me as it is.

It seems that everybody I know that has children around the same ages as mine is at least in their mid-thirties, in some cases their late thirties. I guess they established their careers first, or something. It just makes me feel so young.

Like this weekend we went to a barbecue at a friend’s house. They have a daughter who just turned four and another daughter who will be three in October. They graduated college before I even started high school. I mean, what do I even have to talk to them about besides our children? I’m a product of the eighties, and for them those are their teen years.

It’s not like I don’t have a decent career, even with two children. I make a decent salary and so does Pigpen. Yes, I haven’t finished my degree yet, but I’m working on it. And sometimes it really sucks. Small children, plus work, plus school, doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

I just feel really young. I *know* there are women my age with small children. My SIL is the same age, although she is just now pregnant with her first. And two of my good friends from high school have or are about to have children. It’s just no one I hang out with is my age. It’s a little lonely sometimes.

It’s also hard to remember at times, that we are much younger than some of our parent friends and that we didn’t spend years as DINKs (dual-income, no kids). We got married and had a baby a little more than nine months later. I was 23 for goodness sake! Much too young to have a baby, yet there he was. So we don’t have as much disposable income. We haven’t bought a house yet.


At the end of the month we’re going to go on our first vacation with children. We’re planning to spend four glorious days in Ocean City. It will also be our first vacation with friends. I’m a little nervous. They keep much different hours than we do (their children sleep until eight or nine, can you imagine?). They also are able to afford a lot more than we are, so I’m also worried that they won’t like the hotel we’re staying in.

I mean a party or a barbecue is one thing, but a whole beach weekend? Yikes! Very nervous. And yours truly is not the best conversationalist. I get so shy and tongue-tied and second guess everything I say. The running commentary in my head usually includes classic lines such as “OMG, that was so stupid,” “Idiot”, and “I can’t believe you just said that.” Good times. Such a supportive self-monologue I’ve got going there.


In other news, my best friend from high school is coming to visit me this weekend. Not only is she visiting, but she’s also staying in what passes for a guest room in our townhouse. There’s a twin bed, that’s fairly comfortable. And there will be sheets. Also a half bath.

Unfortunately the room also has our broken computer (which sometimes works), that sits on a beautiful Pottery Barn desk, the only piece of Pottery Barn furniture that we own. My treadmill is stored there. As well as all our movies, and assorted other items that we wanted out of the rest of the house, but haven’t done anything else with. I have two nights to attempt to tidy it up a bit.

I'm really looking forward to her visit. It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other. I really hope she has a good time. I mean, she doesn’t have kids, so I hope a whole weekend around them doesn’t drive her nuts.

On Friday, I’m taking the day off work and we’re going to go down to DC and look around, mainly at the museums. Saturday is Gabe’s last soccer practice, so there’s that, and then we’re going to go see Up in 3D. There might even be ice cream afterwards. On Sunday, I believe the plan is to drive up to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and go to the Aquarium. A fun, action-packed weekend. I’m going to be exhausted by Monday.

29 May 2009

Private Benjamin

When I left work yesterday, it was so humid. The air was so thick you could feel the moisture as you breathed it in.

Virginia in the summer (okay, almost summer). Hot and humid. The only place I've spent time in that was worse was South Carolina. And I apologize to anybody who lives in SC and loves it, but dang, that place gets freaking hot and humid in the summer. And don't get me started on the d@mn fire ants!

Of course, I could be a little bit biased against SC. I mean I am from Seattle, and up until the point when I was shipped off to Basic Training at Fort Jackson I had never left the West Coast, with the exception of a trip to Alberta, Canada when I was 13.

I know, Cookie in the Army, pretty funny. I imagine that was a pretty amusing thing to watch. I mean I wore BDUs. And I marched. And I shot a rifle. Just picture Private Benjamin and you might be close.

Any way a Seattlite in South Carolina in the summer is not a good combination. Especially when it did not involve anything resembling a beach, unless you count the sand pits, which I definately do not.


I have another shameless Amazon plug, I mean children's book recommendation. Last night one of the stories I read the boys was I Love You So... by Marianne Richmond, which is a delightful story explaining to a child how much is so much love, and that a parent's love is unconditional.

"I love you"

"How much?"

"So much."

"How much is 'so'?"

"WAY, WAY MORE than you know..."

The artwork is lovely and the prose is beautiful. Gabe loves to ask questions about all the pictures and what it means for Mommies and Daddies to love their children no matter what.


Today, I actually feel almost well-rested. Nick slept through the night. Of course, that means he slept from 7:30 to 5:00, but hey that works for me. I'm ecstatic! I guess this means his cold is completely gone. So yay! Antibiotics rock!


Last night I did my No More Trouble Zones video again. I love how much stronger I feel when I'm finished with it, even though I hate it while I'm doing it. I always feel so much better after I've completed a workout.

I really want to be consistent with exercising even though it's difficult sometimes with work, school, the boys, and Pigpen. This is something that's important to me and good for my health. There is always something else I could be doing instead of exercising, but I have to make the time. I have to believe that I'm worth it.

Sometimes I have a hard time believing that.

27 May 2009


So Nick's new favorite word is "nack" followed by pointing at himself - indicating that he wants a snack. Of course, he means he wants a specific snack, and actually means that he wants fruit loops. He did that this morning when I was downstairs making my coffee, and of course I complied. I was rewarded with a giant grin when the requested "nack" appeared on the little red chair (there's no point in putting it in a bowl, he would just proceed to dump it everywhere).


Last night was a very unsuccessful food night. Nick, who normally is an excellent eater, wasn't interested in eating anything that wasn't a a Fruit Loop. And Gabe, despite requesting a Voila! Meal (we like the Garlic Chicken) refused to eat most of it. He doesn't eat vegetables, although we keep trying. Tonight we asked him to eat one little sliced carrot.

You would have thought we were trying to poison him the way he reacted! He spent almost 15 minutes in a meltdown over eating one lousy carrot. Then he refused to eat some of the curly noodles because they had little bits of broccoli on them. Finally the chicken, which he had claimed he would eat, resulted in another tantrum. He spent so long having tantrums that he lost out on the chance to watch a DVR'd TV show before it was time to get ready for bed.


As I've mentioned before, I love story time with the boys. Last night I read a Bob the Builder story, Someday and Good Night, Grover. If you have never ready Someday before, I highly recommend it. It's guaranteed to make me tear up every time I read it, despite being about a little girl. The story is basically a mother talking to her little girl, and some of the things she will experience as she grows up. Here are a couple of the lines from the story:

"One day I counted your fingers and kissed each one".

"Someday your eyes will be filled with a joy so deep that they shine".

The book is written by Alison McGhee, who also writes the charming Little Boy.


After the boys went to bed last night, I worked out for the second night in a row. Go me! Last night I did Jillian Michaels' No More Trouble Zones and I was sweating like crazy by the end of it. My legs are quite sore this morning. I love Jillian's videos. I think she's a great trainer, and I would jump at the opportunity to have a personal training session with her.

I am determined to finish losing weight by this summer so I actually look decent in a swimsuit. We're planning a beach trip at the end of June and I hope to make good progress by then. My goal is to work out every night, even if it is just a long walk or a yoga video. I'm not sure how successful I will be, especially since I do have school to worry about.

Wish me luck!

26 May 2009

Monday, Monday

We decided to return from the country yesterday afternoon, rather than today like originally planned. Mainly because of homework. I was having trouble concentrating and Pigpen's computer decided to stop working. So was came back early, although Gabe stayed up there with my MIL. She dropped him off a couple hours ago.


We had a nice time. Shortly after we got up there on Saturday, Pigpen put the little charcoal grill together and grilled burgers and hot dogs for lunch. We also had baked beans (canned) and roasted veggies (potatoes, onions, and carrots). It was very good. I had a little difficulty eating the hot dog, due to my mouth still not being 100%, but enjoyed it none the less. Afterwards, I helped Gabe roast marshmallows.

Saturday evening we went out to dinner at Pizza Hut. Gabe is fascinated with ea ting in at a pizza place, so whenever we go to the country house we always take him out to dinner there. This time, in addition to ordering a Pepperoni pizza (a favorite with the men in the Cookie family), we also tried on of their new pastas - the Chicken Alfredo. It wasn't bad. Certainly not as good as the commercials make it out to be, but not bad.

After dinner we went back the country house and got the boys ready for bed. Nick was resistant to sleep, since his routine was messed with, so we took him for a car ride into the town of Strasburg. There's a little ice cream shack in the main part of town that is absolutely fabulous. I had a blueberry delight sundae, which consisted of freshly made soft serve vanilla ice cream, cheese cake, and lots of blueberry topping. Mmmmm. So go. Pigpen went with a blueberry shake.

I worked on a little homework after we got back, which is hard when you don't have an internet connection and realize that you don't have all the information you need. Luckily my paper wasn't due until Sunday. Poor, Pigpen, he had tried to download AOL so he could use a dial-up connection if necessary and it totally hosed his computer. He spent all evening trying to get it to work with no success. In fact, it's still not working.


On Sunday we went for a hike in the woods after breakfast. My in-laws have about eight acres with a creek that ends in a lake, although the lake was built by their neighbors and for the most part, isn't on their property. Pigpen and I talked about the possibility of moving from the suburbs and building up here, but it's probably not feasible. More than likely we will just expand and upgrade the house my in-laws have to make it more pleasant for weekend trips.

After we returned from our walk, we went for a drive so the Nick could take a nap and Gabe could chill and watch an episode or two of Go, Diego, Go in the car. We went and found all the local schools and stopped at the elementary school so Gabe could play on the playground, which he enjoyed. After our drive, we all ate lunch and then Pigpen and I got ready to drive back home. Nick stayed awake for most of the drive, and was still awake when we reached Gainesville. We needed to go grocery shopping, and decided to stop at the Super Target there.

After Target Nick fell asleep for the rest of the ride. When we got home Pigpen and I unpacked the car and tried to tidy up around the house. Pigpen also tried to get his computer to work with little success.

Sunday evening we decided to go to Outback for dinner, which was delicious. I even had a drink - a blueberry martini, which was excellent. We ordered Nick macaroni and cheese, which did not use elbow noodles, so Nick wasn't too sure about. However, he loved the bread and everything that Pigpen and I were eating. The weather was beautiful, so we also went for a short walk around the block when we got home from dinner.


This morning we went to Panera Bread for breakfast, stopped to get me Starbucks, and then went for a drive so that Nick could take a nap. I love going for drives, it's one of the few opportunities for Pigpen and I to talk. We came to the conclusion, like we usually do, that we are never leaving our current neighborhood, and will eventually buy a house here.

Nick woke up as soon as we got home and decided that he could not get out of the car without a pair of my sunglasses. He looked very cute, and silly.

Any way, I need to finish my homework, so I better end this post so I'm not up too late.

22 May 2009

Out of Town

I am actually doing something for Memorial Day Weekend. Go me! We're going out of town this weekend. Unfortunately it is no where exciting. We're heading up to my in-laws house in the Shenandoah Valley. They have about eight acres up there with a house. Gabe loves it. He actually headed up there today with my MIL. 

Pigpen and I will go up tomorrow with Nick. We both had a bunch of homework to work on, and we haven't had time this week to get anything ready for us since we'll be gone the whole weekend. If we get lucky we might even get a bonus date on Sunday. And of course, we will take Gabe to Pizza Hut, where we, the novelty, actually sit down in the restaurant!


Nick was really cute this evening, even though it was obvious he missed Gabe. His new favorite treat has become Fruit Loops. And he know where we keep them. So any time we go to the pantry he comes running up hoping he'll be given some. He's also learned how to say snacks, or as he says it "nack", which is super cute. So if you ask him if he wants a snack his face will light up in expectation of receiving Fruit Loops. 

He also is fully aware of his name, and the names of many other objects, even if he can't say them. If you ask him where's Nick, he will point to himself. He can also identify most of his body parts when asked. You ask him and he'll point the right part, and then giggle, which means I end up giggling too. It's very cute. 


We called Gabe tonight at his bedtime and we're told that he had ROASTED MARSHMALLOWS! And do we want to roast marshmallows too when we come up tomorrow? It was very cute. I miss him when he's not around. He's growing up so quickly. I mean in another year we have to register him for kindergarten. Kindergarten! How did he get to be so big? 


In other news, I am still in pain from the darn wisdom teeth removal. Eating anything solid is still difficult, although certainly better than it was. It gets worse if I don't medicate regularly. WTF? I didn't think it was supposed to hurt this much for this long. If I'm not feeling significantly better by Monday, I better call the oral surgeon and get them rechecked. 

Once they heal I can finally go in for my dental check up. It will only be three months past due. I had an appointment scheduled for the end of March and when they called me up to remind me I canceled because I wasn't going to show up still in possession of my wisdom teeth. I didn't want to have to explain to my dentist why I still had them when she had given me the referral six months ago. 


Now I think it is time to go to bed. Like I meant to do half an hour ago. Nick will be up multiple times and then get up for good too early. And then we have to pack and then drive up to the country house. I will be fortified with caffeine... ah caffeine, what would I do without you?

18 May 2009

A Real Pain in the Mouth

So, I had my last two wisdom teeth removed on Friday. My mouth is still sore from it, especially the right side. Pigpen went to work for a few hours and then took the rest of the day off to take care of me. I decided to be sedated for the procedure, since I was fully aware for my upper two when they were removed in high school and found it excruciating.

I had the first appointment of the day, and then went home to take a nap. Pigpen went out and picked me up some lunch - Taco Bell's pintos 'n cheese, yummy... and then we caught up on some of the season finales from the week. It was nice to just chill at home with him minus the boys. We're really trying to make an effort to spend more time alone together, without cutting in too much to our limited time with Gabe and Nick.


This weekend wasn't the best weekend for me to be out of commission; although I did my best to muddle through. Gabe had soccer on Saturday, followed by a picnic for whole league. Plus, one of his friends had her birthday party on Sunday.

My MIL went with Pigpen to soccer practice to help out with Gabe and watch Nick while I took a nap. I did go with them to the picnic, but it started to rain, so I stayed in the car with Nick, while Pigpen quickly took Gabe out there to see what that had set up for food and activities.

The food was from Moes, which is not one of our favorite Mexican places, and we had to pay for it, so Pigpen didn't get any. They did have some of the players from D.C. United there to sign autographs, so Gabe did get at least one player's autograph on a poster.


The party on Sunday was nice. It was located at one of those moon bounce places, and most of Gabe's friends were there, so he had a great time. Nick really enjoyed it too. Especially the slides, which he kept asking Pigpen to take him on. Unfortunately, you had to crawl through some really small opening's and climb up this makeshift ladder to get to the top. It got to be very tiring for Pigpen to do that while carrying a 23 lb baby. Nick wanted to go down by himself, so I was always at the bottom waiting for him.

Gabe had the most fun playing with one of his friend's older brother, This is the nine-year-old we went to the movies with a couple weeks ago. The especially enjoyed playing on the pirate ship; at least that's what I think it was supposed to be. I didn't pay much attention to what it was.

I tried to bounce with Nick a bit, but due to the pain in my mouth, it started to make me nauseous. Luckily Nick enjoyed playing with the balls they had out as much as going on the moon bounces.

Unfortunately for the kids, we only got an hour on the equipment before it was time for pizza, cake, and goodie bags. Poor Gabe, he really wanted to go back down and bounce some more. I wish we had room for one of those little moon bounces at our townhouse. Nick wasn't feeling well, so he didn't eat much pizza or cake. Gabe was more than happy to eat the frosting off of the slice of cake that Nick didn't want.


The one thing that does not happen at parties here is the opening of gifts. I remember that being one of the big things at birthday parties when I was little. But nobody does around here. Is this now common every where? Or just here in Northern Virginia? We opened gifts once at Gabe's first birthday party, which was at my MIL's, but by the time his next party rolled around we had been to enough parties to know that it just wasn't something people did.