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October 2008

It's finally nap time

Hello my lovelies!

If you want to see what Jack and Molly are going to be for Halloween (PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE!) check out my post at Parenting.com today.

And that's all I've got. Both of my kids are sleeping so I'm going to try and catch up on a bit of TV while jogging very very slowly on my treadmill. I plan to eat some candy tomorrow so maybe if I "work out" today I won't feel so guilty. Right? Right.


The volatility index

I have a new mental exercise going on lately. It's called: Squaring My SAHM Status with These Desperate Times. In other words, what am I doing carving pumpkins with my kids while my husband puts the more-expensive-than-it-used-to-be food on the table?

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Sure was fun!

I think the bit of SAHM guilt in me is showing itself in new and exciting ways. The guilt is there in the first place because I am constantly feeling like I'm getting away with something. I mean, I get to stay home and play with my kids instead of going to an office. Every single day! Even on the days when Jack decides that afternoon nap isn't worth his while (like today, hence the fork in my eye) I still can't really believe I get to do this.

"Aaaaand," says the guilt, "maybe you CAN'T!"

I've been reading a few trillion blogs about the Dire! Economy! and soaking up financial advice (which is funny because if there is one thing about which I know NOTHING it's finances) and getting all anxious and worried. Do we have enough in savings? Are we spending too much on groceries? Can I quit Target? People, I have recently agreed to give up my landline. HELL HATH FROZEN OVER.

And then I will sit and wonder if I should go out and get myself a job. I could work part time and not pay for childcare, due to the grandmothers who've often told me they'd step in and help. I could most definitely work a flexible work-from-home type job. The extra money would be super nice. When I look at that budget spreadsheet I slaved over and then never used, I wonder how we thought we'd manage all the things we manage and then I remember: I used to have a job. How are we going to refinance our house NOW? Now that I'm eating bon bons staying home with the kids all day?

I wouldn't feel confused except for the fact that in the last few weeks I've been mulling over the topic of Vocations and how very strongly I feel that I am supposed to be home with my kids. At this point in my life. I WANT to be doing this, but it's only recently that I've felt like this is a vocation. And that all the things that pop up in my life and shriek "TRY ME!" I need to put aside until my kids are bigger. These are mostly church things, different ministries here and there that sound interesting or fulfilling in some way. Or even just the fliers from the nursing home where I used to volunteer. I can't do that with two little kids. There's a LOT I can't do with two little kids. It's not that I shouldn't do those things, I just shouldn't do them right now.

And I wonder if a job fits into that as well. It is still somewhat miraculous to me that I don't have to work. We honestly didn't think we could manage on one income (and maybe if you checked out our finances you'd be wondering if we really ARE managing!) but we have yet to move into the cardboard box. And if circumstances aren't [yet] pointing me in that direction, maybe I am just supposed to stay home with my kids. And Fat the Bunny.


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Didn't take long, did it?


A gimlet with your pumpkin bread

I didn't watch the season finale of Mad Men until last night. Partly because I was so utterly exhausted from the baptism festivities on Sunday that I couldn't stay up late enough to watch, partly because I didn't want to watch it during nap time and risk someone waking up. Oh, and the sooner I watched it the sooner it would be over. Boo.

I have to say, I was rooting for Don and Betty. I was relieved when Don showed up at the stables and crushed when Betty slid into the closet with that guy in the bar. I don't know if she asked him to come home just to tell him she's pregnant or if she really wants him there, but I'm glad the show let us know where Don will be during the hiatus. (Like these are real people!)

But! What made Don come home? Just hanging out with Anna? His 'baptism' in the ocean? I don't know. I'm suspicious. My take on the second-to-last episode was that he can't be happy unless he's living as Dick Whitman, and I don't really see how he's going to manage that with Betty. Can he be Dick Whitman with all of Don Draper's things? (All that money from the merger! Sweet!) And call me a cynic, but how does Don Draper not cheat again?

Anyway, all the office goings on were hilarious. The switchboard girl, Pete playing both sides, Duck flipping out in the meeting. (And Don's Don Draperness in that scene is why we don't really want him to go back to being Dick Whitman...)

There was not enough Roger. There was barely any Joan. I actually began to root for Peggy and PETE what is WRONG WITH ME? And I realized I knew next to nothing about the Cuban missile crisis. I loved that shot of Pete staring out the window of his dark office, holding that gun. I always wondered why he bought himself a gun.

For those of you who haven't seen Mad Men, I wrote all of the above because stupid Typepad is not letting me upload the [gorgeous] pictures of the pumpkin patch we went to over the weekend. Wait, let me try again...

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The Mountain

No really, that's what we call it. Officially it's Mt. Rainier, but everyone just calls it The Mountain. As in, "The Mountain's out today!"

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Just his size.

I suppose we could have gone to a real pumpkin patch (ie: the kind where the pumpkins are not already picked and laid out in neat rows) but we are city folk. This was good enough for us.

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Someone did not want to leave.

I'm loving fall this year. The food, the weather (you can tell it's been pretty sunny), the upcoming holidays, seeing my jack 'o lantern lit up on the sidewalk. Turns out my vitamin D level is slightly low (normal is 33-100 and I'm at 29), but so far so good.

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Now if only I could fit into my old jeans... THESE ARE NOT THEM.

P.S. Lest you think we left Molly by the side of the road, there were plenty of Relatives at my parents' house (because that's where the pumpkin patches are!) willing to keep Molly all toasty and warm at home.

Anyway. Two posts in one! Don Draper and pumpkins! Both very yummy.


Event 1 of Dutiful Catholic Parenting: CHECK!

Molly's not a pagan baby anymore or a holy innocent or whatever you call those unbaptized babies WHAT A RELIEF THANK GOODNESS.

We got quite a few pictures of the baptism. Really good ones. Of course, none of them are on OUR camera.

Most importantly, I figured out what my kids were going to wear without too much strife.

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The Preppy and the No Pants Look, respectively.

At the last minute I decided to call the church and tell them I'd changed my mind, we'd dunk Molly, but no one answered. So then I had to find something for her to wear. When I was whining about this to my mother, she dashed into a closet and whipped out a little dress. Since my mother was buying baby clothes in sizes up to 2T at the base exchange before Jack was born and before she even moved back to the United States, I figured she had a stash of baby girl clothes too. But no, that is the dress I wore home from the hospital when I was born. My mom just happens to have it tucked away in the closet for easy access. And hey, it worked!

(Tangent! I wore dresses like that until I was seventeen. My grandmother made them for me (although she didn't make that one.) They had tight elastic sleeves edged with lace, smocking over the bodice and they all ended about mid to upper thigh. Sometimes she made little bloomers to go with them, which meant that the circulation in my arms AND legs was being strangled by lace and elastic. Extra Tangent! My grandmother made the exact dress I describe for Molly. She hasn't made a dress in God knows how many years and she's not likely to make another. It was a Very Big Deal and I will probably keep it Forever and Ever.)

But! I had nothing for Jack. You'd think he owns church clothes, but his mother consents to having him show up in his one pair of khaki pants and whatever shirt isn't caked with food that day.

So my mom and my sister and I left the babies and the dads at home and headed out to the closest source of baby clothes, which in my parents' neighborhood means Toys 'R Us. I wouldn't think to shop for clothes there, but they actually have a fairly decent (and decently priced) selection. I'm the kind of person who is loathe to spend $20 on a shirt that he's going to outgrow in 2 weeks (although I've been known to do it for certain occasions) but when you have your mother and sister in tow, you get talked into things. Which is how I ended up with a shirt and sweater vest and pants AND SHOES, when all I really needed was a shirt. And oh yeah, we bought Molly some shoes too.

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Molly and her godmother. You think the godmother is just reflecting her happiness through all those teeth, but I know better. She is PLOTTING SOMETHING.

The ceremony was very nice, except for the parts where Jack was bawling (three times, people, THREE TIMES) and when the family in front of us decided not to do anything the faith formation lady told us to do, which made me look stupid when I was trying to do what she told us to do.

(Another! Tangent! What is it with Tall Men? They have Tall Man Syndrome and it drives me NUTS. Tall Man Syndrome is when the Tall Man doesn't appear to realize that there are other people smaller than he is. He exists in his world six foot something up in the air and forgets that other people are trying to squeeze in next to him or get in front of him or racing to catch up with him. I'm not sure it's even his fault, so much as a symptom of being Tall. But it is FREAKING ANNOYING and could he ONCE just LOOK DOWN and BE AWARE OF OTHER PEOPLE? GAH!)

Anyway. I think I mentioned that I'm quite picture-less when it comes to pictures of the main event. Also: pictures of the baptism dim sum feast because I was too busy gaining back all the weight I've lost. (BUT IT WAS SOOOO GOOOOOOOD.)

But I do have pictures of Molly in her baptism gown (which my grandmother also made, and which I (and my brothers and sisters) also wore):

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The Princess.

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Unfortunately not a fan of the bonnet.


The skittery, it has arrived

After a couple of relatively slow and easy weeks (um, my in-laws have been coming over EVERY AFTERNOON aka PRIME WHINING TIME) I'm starting to get that skittery there's-so-much-to-do feeling, the one that makes me drink all the wine. Mostly because there IS so much to do and I have to figure out ALL OF IT.

Molly's baptism is Sunday. We're all going out for dim sum afterwards. Wanna come? Ever since we delegated the Making The Reservation For Thirty People to my father-in-law, who is much better with these things, especially because he speaks Cantonese and knows which arms to twist, I haven't worried much about it. The table situation isn't perfect, but whatever, you can deal with anything when you have sticky buns and siu mai within arms reach. But I AM sort of freaking about the baptism. My church gives you the option of dunking the baby in naked or just dribbling water over her head. We dunked Jack because we thought it'd be fun, but we had to get him naked during the homily and oh my God, we changed our very first blowout right under the priest's nose. I REALLY don't want to do that again.

So this time I checked the "dribbling over the head" box. Except! What does the baby wear? You'd think "baptism gown" except we're supposed to put the baptism gown on AFTER the baptism. Which, I suppose, makes sense, but what's she supposed to wear during the event? I can't just stick her in a little Carters onesie and pants outfit now, can I? I don't think that's appropriately REVERENT. But do I have to go out and buy a little white saintly looking pajama set? A white dress? When she's already got the white baptism gown?

(Which I wore at MY baptism, by the way. And Molly is only barely too fat for it. I'm just not going to button the top button!)

Anyway. This kept me up at night. I KNOW. THE PROBLEMS I HAVE. But I don't have time to go buy a white outfit because 1) I have a date tonight, a date involving dinner with my husband, and also WINE and 2) my parents get back from their month-long road trip today and we're going to spend the day with them tomorrow meaning no obsessive white-outfit shopping. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to call up the faith formation lady and tell her we're going to dunk Molly instead. I am not going to tell her WHY. I will make up some sort of "we think this better symbolizes the baptism" bunk and see where that goes.

AND THEN!

I was relieved from my senses a while back and signed up for another church committee. I VOLUNTEERED. A committee that has the word "steering" in its name and reports back to other committees and WHAT WAS I THINKING?! So! I've got one of those meetings Thursday night as soon as Phillip gets home from work. Friday we're again spending with my parents because it's Halloween and they have the perfect neighborhood for Halloween. And Saturday morning I'm throwing a baby shower. So. You all tell me when I'm supposed to clean my house and make the treats and figure out how to entertain MEN at a BABY SHOWER because OH YES the men are invited. Don't forget: I have two babies! One of whom is now refusing to nap or even LIE DOWN BY HERSELF when her brother is napping. TO SPITE ME.

Am feeling VERY skittery.

And I forgot, we were invited to a housewarming party the same day as the shower. Maybe I will just hire a babysitter for, oh, THREE DAYS.


BOOOOOOOOOO

Last night I asked Phillip when his company Christmas party was scheduled so I could plan OUR holiday extravaganza. (One year we dashed to the company Christmas party and ran home to host our own. Can you say insane?)

"Oh!" said Phillip. "There's not going to BE a Christmas party this year."

This is where the BOOOOOO comes in.

Phillip used to work for an accounting firm. He wore button down shirts and ties and rode the elevator to one of the tippy top floors of a skyscraper. Accountants, if you were not aware, throw the most boring parties on earth. I hated those parties. One year the party was at the aquarium and you know what the entertainment was? Watching the staff feed the seals. There was not enough wine at that party, let me tell you.

But now he works for a software company and they wouldn't bat an eye if he showed up in sweatpants and stubble and a trucker hat. (Not like Phillip would go anywhere wearing sweatpants. As if.) Anyway, the Christmas party obligation went from Can I Stay Home Sick to How Much Can I Spend On My Dress? We're talking catered dinner, open bar and dancing. Fun!

This year, however, the company is Hunkering Down and Making Sacrifices. I call it Punishing The Employees, but whatever. Something about the economy, blah blah blah. No sparkly dress for me this year. They're going to have a POTLUCK. During the DAY. And yes, one of his coworkers already asked, there will be no open bar at the potluck. BOOOOOOOOOO.

You are saved from further griping by Molly, The Girl Who Wakes Up As Soon As Her Mother Puts Her Down. If you need to kill some more time at the office, I'm sharing a few more details about my husband at Parenting today. Between writing about his JOB and writing about his utter lack of understanding re: sorting laundry, I'm going to have to make a tasty dinner tonight...


Too much to ask

Sometimes you can have a frustrating day without anything legitimately frustrating happen.

I usually try to get whatever lame thing I'm writing for Parenting out of the way on Tuesday night. I send it in Wednesday morning and they post it on Thursday. If I wait till Wednesday it's often too late, because I'm working on East Coast time and I don't have time to write anything in the morning. But this week I totally spaced, which meant I'm scrambling for topics in the shower this morning. Which is a Wednesday, if you are keeping track.

I thought I'd try to hammer it out during lunch time. I turned on Sesame Street to increase my odds, but then Jack wouldn't eat and Molly wouldn't sleep and MY GOD GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK.

Jack will take bites of sandwiches now, but often only if I hold the sandwich for him (I guess that biting and tearing away is SO much work, how can he possibly hold his OWN SANDWICH?). And Molly falls asleep great in my arms, but wakes up the second I put her down in the pack 'n play. I'd get to write a sentence here and there, but then I'd have to pick up Molly or make sure Jack was actually eating and by the time I got them settled again I'd forget what I was writing.

And the whole time Phillip is downstairs, working from home, not responsible for the kids and not available to bail me out. Oh YES I was irritated with the Unfairness.

I mean, it's not a big deal. I finished it. It's a little late in the day, but everyone will live. I put Jack down for his nap and asked Phillip if he could hold Molly while he ate lunch and YES it's all FINE. But when Jack started yelling from his crib 45 minutes after I put him down (and I'm going to assume he never fell asleep in the first place) I literally banged my head against the wall.

"Do you want me to go get him!? Do you want me to try and put him to sleep?! What do you want?!" asked the husband who thinks I'm mad at him and not just MAD AT EVERYTHING.

My in-laws have been coming over every afternoon and I've been trying to take advantage of this time for things like cleaning out the closets and laundry and grocery shopping and other mom things. But today I think I'm going to take myself out for a coffee and maybe a stroll around Target and, if I'm feeling really wild, some shopping downtown and drinks after work with my husband. The gin is calling my name, but people, it's one in the afternoon. My day hasn't been THAT frustrating.


Tis the season to be crazy

I spent my entire pregnancy with Jack preparing for post-partum depression. Go wander through the 'anxiety' archive over there if you're interested in my evidence as to why I am a PRIME candidate for post-baby crazy. I thought for sure it would happen to me. I was banking on it. But it didn't happen. In fact, the first four or five months of Jack's life were some of the most anxiety-free days I've had.

(Note: crazy person anxiety, not normal person anxiety. I make it sound as if taking care of a new baby was nothing to write home about. AU CONTRAIRE. But the crazy person anxiety, it was nonexistent.)

With Molly I was not going to assume I'd get another free ride. Molly was due in September, right when the crazy starts to sneak back in. FOR SURE it would happen this time. But it hasn't. I feel great. I feel a HELL of a lot better than I did at ANY point while pregnant. And it is for this reason that I have diagnosed myself as the sort of person who experiences PRE-partum depression anxiety instead of POST-partum. I'm sure there is a medical term for this somewhere, right? Because what other explanation can there be?

Pregnant with Jack and Molly = total nutcase.

In the haze of taking care of newborn Jack and Molly = picture of mental health.

Even though I'm feeling rather On Top Of The Worldy anxiety-wise these days, I still asked my doctor to check my vitamin B and D levels at my appointment this morning. My anxiety stuff always comes back to haunt me in October and I've kind of been wondering when it's going to start. So far so good, but I've been doing this long enough to know I can't count on anything. I don't know whether October is a bad month because it's the time of year when all this stuff started for me, or if the dismal weather up here plays a part. I'm guessing it does, based on how gloomy I feel when it's dark outside, hence the vitamin D check. Check out this article to find out why the average Seattleite starts going all goth and moody in the fall.

If it turns out my vitamin D levels are really low, my doctor can put me on a massive dose of the stuff and potentially make me feel better. If they're fine, I plan to get them checked again in a month or two, just to see. Especially if I start getting anxious.

I'm also going to buy a light box. I've been meaning to do this for a few years, but I always look into buying one when I'm feeling well, and then I balk at the cost. But, as someone put it to me recently, "You'd spend that in a nanosecond when you're anxious." Yes, yes I would.

I plan to keep doing the slacker treadmill thing and staying away from sugar, because as much as I don't want to admit it, I DO feel better when I'm not living on brownies.

There's more to say about this. About not wanting to put my little family through another winter of Anxious Me, about the kind of work it takes to stay above the water, but I hear Jack karate-chopping the crib and the kitchen is a disaster and someone wants to eat AGAIN, how is she hungry again ALREADY?

Are you doing anything to combat the season? Other than plying yourself with pumpkin bread and butternut squash lasagna? Because that really screws with my Hot By Thirty plan.


In case you didn't understand how much I love TV

*****RED ALERT! RED ALERT!*****

The season finale isn't till NEXT week! MY BAD! I think I saw some ad for the season finale and assumed it was this coming Sunday, whatever, excuses, blah blah, I AM THE LAMEST!!!

On the bright side: we have two more episodes instead of one! And this gives you PLENTY of time to buy a plane ticket to Seattle!

To make up for it, I'll tell you that Jon Hamm is going to be on next week's Saturday Night Live. SWOON.

Also! Trivia! Jon Hamm dated Lorelei Gilmore for all of one episode! DOUBLE SWOON!

All right. My sister just implied that I am being stalkerish (even though she's the one who conjured up the Gilmore Girls reference WHATEVER) so I'm going to stop now. Ahem.

****END RED ALERT!****

The Mad Men season finale is Sunday night. SUNDAY NIGHT. Throughout this sad and lonely TiFaux-less period of my life (which Phillip is working on amending as I type), Mad Men has been the one single show I've managed to watch in real time every week. I don't think I've liked a show this much since Veronica Mars was on TV. And, like Veronica Mars, I occasionally re-watch episodes, because you missed the title of the book Don was reading or you didn't quite hear what Ken said to Sal or you completely blank on the fact that Jane bought Don's extra shirts at Mencken's. IMPORTANT STUFF LIKE THAT!

Anyway. I am alternately thrilled and despairing that the season finale is tomorrow night, although more despairing than usual because no one is watching it with me. Not even my sisters, the people who turned me on to Logan Echolls, are watching Mad Men. And so I need to ask: do any of you want to fly out here Sunday evening? We can put on our reddest lipstick and tease our hair and drink martinis and it will be SO MUCH FUN. I am not even kidding. Please come visit. My TiFaux might even be all fixed so we can rewind if we miss anything!

I'm off to mope. If TV's not your thing, there's a new post at Hot By Thirty. Although, moaning over the state of your closet might not be your thing either and then we REALLY can't be friends.


The Silent Fashion Assassin

You don't know how embarrassed I am to say this but I missed the Project Runway finale.

IN FACT! I didn't even REALIZE I'd missed it till I got Leticia's comment. FOR SHAME.

My TiFaux is oh so sadly still broken. WEEKS ago we had a wind storm and a power outage and poof! There went my best friend. I've tried my very darndest not to complain too much to The Management because he is busy with his Real Job and also pitching in with the care of two temperamental small people. I didn't want to be all, "FIX MY TIFAUX OR I SHALL DIE." Or even, "I can only watch one show at 8:30 pm on Thursday. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT THE OTHER FOURTEEN SHOWS?" I do, Internet. I really do try my very best not to be a Big Fat Nag, but oh GOD the TRAUMA.

Phillip quietly told me how much parts for my new TiFaux would cost and I said, "Do you not think I would sell a kidney?" So the parts were purchased and Phillip is slowly bandaging up the TiFaux downstairs, while I watch shows in real time (HORROR) and completely miss out on pretty much everything that takes place when Jack is going to bed and the dinner dishes need to be washed up and Molly is spitting up over the entire living room. WHICH WOULD BE EVERYTHING.

But! I am nothing if not industrious, Internet! I ran to my trusty laptop (think of what I would do if my LAPTOP died?!) and looked up when the finale would show again because you know Bravo does nothing except show marathon after marathon of old shows. It aired again last night, and I made sure to tune in, and now I can give you my Very Important And Much Anticipated Opinion:

MEH.

Everyone was saying this season was so boring, but I didn't really think so. Maybe because I like it when everyone is nice to each other? Kenley provided some drama towards the end, but it wasn't Awesome Drama, like Wendy Pepper, or even Santino. I eventually wanted to hook Kenley up with a good therapist and a nice cocktail.

Anyway, my favorite designer made it to the end: Leeanne, the Silent Fashion Assassin. And my second favorite, Korto, made it too, so I wasn't disappointed. Kenley should have been booted after she attempted "hip hop" so Kenley wasn't even for real. For me. Whatever.

So blah blah blah runway show. There were a couple things I liked in Kenley's collection, but I didn't Get It. Korto's was not my thing. And Leeanne's I appreciated as Art, but not necessarily Clothes Someone Could Wear. (Well, maybe a few, but not anyone bigger than those models, let me tell ya.) After listening to the judges give their spiels I was pretty sure Korto was the winner. But no! The Silent Fashion Assassin prevailed! Whoo!

I loved how Kenley was all, "Hmm, should have watched my attitude," when she found out Tim Gunn was replacing La Lopez as guest judge. (Which: good on you, PR honchos. Tim Gunn is the best thing about your show.)

But still: Meh. I wasn't wowed or in love with any of the clothes. (Not that I am into clothes. Seriously. I could totally use a few days with Tim. I just like SHOWS about clothes. See: PR, Rachel Zoe, Gossip Girl.) You didn't come away feeling like Leeanne was going to make it big (not until she at least does something about those bangs). You DID come away hoping that Lifetime can freshen up the show, while still keeping the bits that make it awesome. Which would be Tim Gunn.

We'll see, eh?

Speaking of clothes, I've got about 40 loads of laundry to do and heaps of baby clothes that need to be sorted, put away or shlepped to Goodwill. Later!