Showing posts with label celebration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label celebration. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

For My Pregnant Friends

I've mentioned wanting to write a parenting book.
I rarely finish what I start.
But I have a lot of pregnant friends who genuinely seemed interested in my parenting expertise, you know, because I have one child and that automatically makes me an expert in all things baby and toddler.
When I was a new mom, anyone who'd been a mom even a day longer than me was a trove of information that I couldn't wait to glom onto. So to my first-time-mommy-to-be buddies, this is for you.

  • Bring your pets a present home from the hospital so they adjust a little bit easier.
  • Fix your hair and makeup before the first post-birth photos. They're going to be around a lot longer than that blissful moment of having just produced a person.
  • Make sure your chest is covered up during said photos. 
  • Everything doesn't have to be organic. Sure, there's better packaging and you feel like it will make a difference, but chances are you'll be wasting money on organic washcloths when normal cotton ones are just fine.
  • Despite the above statement, these are the best burp cloths. You will use them a ton.
  • Observe other moms. If you see a stroller you like, ask them what kind it is and if you can try it out. It's a big investment and you want to know first-hand if it's a good one. Or just listen to me and get a Graco baby carrier with the stroller frame. Once they're out of the carrier, either get a Bob jogger – if you plan on jogging or hiking – or a Chicco Capri.
  • If you want your husband to carry the baby more, get a Bjorn.
  • Pampers Swaddlers are the best newborn diapers. When they're older, just get what they have at Costco.
  • Always carry spare clothes for you and the baby.
  • You don't need wipe warmers, a shopping cart cover, or baby mittens.
  • Tell your parents not to visit the first month, unless they live nearby.
  • Breastfeeding is hard. Study up on it now before you realize it's not the natural thing you expect it to be.
  • Prenatal yoga didn't help me with delivery but it was nice to hang out with other pregnant ladies and you can have snacks the whole time.
  • Get an iPad.
  • The same rules apply to parenting that apply to home repairs: everything will cost twice as much and take twice as long as you think.
  • People in public may not go ape-shit over how cute your baby is. It's ok. They just don't get it, but other moms do. We all know who the cutest baby in the world is.
  • This one.
  • Shit happens. Literally. Soap and water exists for a reason and your Facebook friends don't ever need to know about it. 
  • If you ever find yourself typing the words poop, fart, pee, vomit, barf, puke, boogers, moist, chunky, snot, anal, rash, breast infection or scabies on social media, you may want to think twice about hitting the "Update Status" button. Although Blair Koenig is my Twitter friend, I still don't really want people I know to end up on STFU Parents.
  • I know giving your kid a kooky-spelling name is the thing to do to make them yoo-neek, but think about who actually has to spell it the rest of their lives. Give them a break and let's take the "y"s and extra consonants out. Little Kattnyss will thank you for it.
  • There is nothing wrong with cloth diapering or making your own baby food. There's nothing wrong with Huggies and Gerber. My point? What works for some may not for others and there's nothing wrong either way. We're all in this together, people. Don't judge.
  • Except for vaccines...seriously, vaccinate your kids. We don't need to reintroduce polio, for crying out loud!
  • Make sure your pediatrician checks for hip dysplasia.
  • There is a such thing as being overly sanitary. Did you see this study that just came out about moms who suck the dirt off of binkies that fell on the floor? Those are the kids who don't have asthma. I'm not one to brag, I'm just someone who's always out of wipes. So L.E. has had one ear infection and two fevers in three years. It could be because I sucked the dirt off of her pacifier instead of washing it off. Score one for the lazys!
  • You will always need wipes. Buy them in bulk and keep them in every room of the house.
  • A leather diaper bag is stupid because it's heavy. Canvas is the way to go. Everyone says to get one that doesn't look like a diaper bag but guess what? That baby you're holding is pretty much a dead giveaway that you're packing bottles and wipes in that Kate Spade Stevie.
  • Yes, you need a glider. No, you don't need the ottoman.
  • An inflatable exercise ball is necessary for those days when you can't get the baby to stop crying so you just bounce. It also doubles as an ottoman.
  • The Arm & Hammer diaper pail is the worst. Ours has been broken for two years. I should have gotten another one but I had potty-training delusionment.
  • What do you mean delusionment isn't a word?
  • People will give you unsolicited advice – not that I know anything about that. You asked me for this, remember? But take it with a grain of salt. Or come up with a trove of witty retorts about domestic abuse and people will leave you alone.
  • Don't get rid of your maternity clothes. Even though I never plan on being pregnant again, I really miss some of those dresses. 
  • Yoga pants are real pants.
  • Your feet may never return to their pre-baby size. But your ass will.
  • Hold your husband accountable for his share. I can't tell you how shocked I am to hear that "Daddy isn't ready to handle the baby on his own yet." That's bullshit. Mommy needs to get out or perhaps Daddy will end up with a shovel blade impaled in his skull.
  • Remember that you're not quite the same person you were before you became a mom and that's ok. You now have an amazing little person that will be your best friend and your worst enemy. It's ok to be all over the place and a little bit crazy for a while. You'll bounce back but you'll be slightly different. Wiser, more sensitive, more tired and with a way better sense of humor. You'll need it for all of the times you leave the house with spit-up on your shirt and forgetting to wear pants.
Tell me: what piece of advice was priceless for you when you became a new mom?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Three is the Magic Number

Her favorite part of her birthday.
L.E. turned three last Sunday. THREE! We made it to the age where what once was considered a "choking hazard" is now just another toy.
We celebrated birthday number three with a weekend full of adult and kid fun.
She had a joint birthday party with a friend two weeks ago so we could spend her real birthday weekend doing just what she wanted to do.
This included:

  • A visit from her aunt
  • Breakfast tacos
  • A brewery tour
  • Dinner at Salt Lick
  • A new train set
  • A too-big-for-now Big Wheel
  • Biscuits and Groovy
  • Bouncing at a bounce house at a church kids' fest around the corner
  • Chuck E Cheese
  • A nice long nap
  • Dinner at her favorite place, Phil's, only to discover that their famed playscape was closed. Luckily, Waterloo Ice House was a nice backup plan
  • Cupcakes
  • Having all of her grandparents sing "Happy Birthday" via FaceTime while she blew out her candles
  • Wishing for a hug from her mommy and daddy

I could sit here and reflect on how the last three years of parenthood have changed me but I feel like that would be wasted space. I've done plenty of self-reflection lately and it hasn't been pretty.
I like to think that like my daughter has moved from toddler to preschooler with all of the grace and dignity of a baby triceratops, I've moved from somewhat-self-assured career woman to a work-from-home writer who barely changes out of her yoga pants.
When I decided to take this opportunity write a ton and to find my voice, I though it would have been easier. I would have written a post that got picked up by a national syndicate and gone viral. Legions of adoring fans, advertisers begging for endorsements and a book deal would have been quick to follow.
I put a lot of pressure on myself.
I have one chapter done in a proposed parenting book that I just can't seem to push out as quickly as I like.
I struggle with motivation because I feel like a failure.
I feel like a failure because I have yet to be paid for a writing job.
I have some prospects that I'm really excited about. But until I see a check, I will still feel anxiety every time I tell Dr. T that I need to take more money out of savings to pay for groceries.
I feel like I disappointed him by leaving a steady job.
Yet, I still write. Because there are people out there who have the same insecurities I do and I want them to know that they're not alone. It's ok to feel guilty and to be anxious about money and to not always be on top of everything.
It's what makes us human.
I feel better about myself when I write and when I look at my blogger stats and see that if only ten people read it, then that's ten people who cared enough to give me a click.
Thank you.
So yes, the last three years have definitely changed me. I've said many times that being a parent has made me a better person. But it's also made me a better writer and able to find my voice.
As you can see, that voice sometimes rambles so far beyond her original point that you can't help but wonder if she's off her meds again...

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened When I Wasn't Looking

Sitting down at breakfast. Hands folded. Please and Thank You.
L.E. has grown up.
She makes demands with her little voice instead of just by crying and screaming.
She asks questions.
She gives answers.
She loves a string of "whys?"
She hates, "Because I said so, that's why."
She announced to me that she's tired of diapers.
She is now wearing underpants.
She asks to use the potty every hour.
I did not train her to do this.
She asks to please watch a movie, please play with her toys, please go outside.
She responds with a "thank you."
She throws her arms around me and just says, "Mommy." with all of the cuteness she can muster.
She survived nine days away from her daddy and only asked for him a bunch towards the end of the trip.
She puts her toys away. Usually.
She gave up her binky without too much trouble.
She comes into our bedroom to wake us up instead of yelling from her bed.
She likes to nap in our bed because hers is "for babies."
She will sit at the dinner table for at least ten minutes before asking to be excused.
Yes, she asks to be excused.
Today she's going to the dentist.
I'm sure she will handle it with the same dignity and grace she handled an unexpected 24-hour delay in our trip to see her grandparents.
She will see it as an adventure.
Or she will handle it the same way she handles getting dressed every morning.
A full-on flailing fit while screaming she wants to stay in her fishy pjs.
One day last week, she took off the clothes I wrestled onto her and demanded I put her fishy pjs back on her.
Maybe she isn't growing up quite yet....

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Gone Texas, Y’all

Everybody needs one of these.
I used to live in New Mexico, which any New Mexican will tell you is overrun by rich Texans. It’s just like Nevada being overrun by rich Californians. 
It’s possible that this reason, along with the Steelers' Super Bowl XXX loss to the Dallas Cowboys, is what made me hate Texas with a passion.
Once when I was driving from Oklahoma City back to Albuquerque, I refused to get out of the car in Texas. So that was a few hundred miles across the panhandle, past the Big Texan Steakhouse and I didn’t stop.
I bitched about their driving, lack of style, trashy attitudes, horrible accents and boots.
Here I am now sitting on a fake porch in my backyard in Austin, TX getting attacked by mosquitos. This porch isn’t Texan; it’s actually a replica of a cabin in New Orleans that had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. It’s just the front of a porch, complete with swing.
From what I’ve been told, it’s so Austin, y’all.
I’ve embraced this like you wouldn’t believe, and I’ve only been here a week.
I bought yard art.
Granted, it’s not Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken, but that’s only because I know the Bloggess paid $100 for B and the ones they had for sale at Austin Furniture Depot were more than that.
So I got a parrot instead.
L.E. named him Blu. I think Pedro is more appropriate.

I have friends in Reno who are seriously worried about me. They’re just jealous because they haven’t had tacos for roughly more than half of their recent meals.
Yes, there are bugs. Yes, our legs look like we have chicken pox. Yes, I can’t stop sweating from the humidity.
But it’s so nice here, you guys. It’s green and lush and there’s a Crate & Barrel. I mean I try to buy local when I can but it’s hard when you finally live in a city with a Restoration Hardware.
There is more than one Whole Foods.
There’s a competitor for Whole Foods called Central Market, which is actually closer to us.
There’s this place, which I’ll refer to as paradise. It has ice cream, burgers, beer and a playground.
The public pools are actually swimmable.
There is no wind; just a slight breeze.
So maybe instead of going full-Texan, I’ll just go Austinite.
I promise not to get a perm or big fake boobs. Or be a Cowboys fan. 
But I'm already saying, "y'all."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Reno by the Numbers

After living in Reno for 15 years, I am breaking down my stats, in no particular order:

7 Addresses

5 Places of employment

1 Time crying on the first day of a new job (caused by this guy)

5 Times I met Sparks Mayor Geno Martini

2 Times I met Reno Mayor Bob Cashell

1 Time I waited on Sen. Harry Reid

1 Time I did makeup on former Gov. Bob Miller

1 Time I sat on the plane behind Gov. Jim Gibbons

1 Time I sat across a bar from Gov. Kenny Guinn

2 Times I was at a dinner with Governor Brian Sandoval

1 Casino family I consider part of my family: the Ascuagas

12 Nights that ended staggering out of a casino during a sunrise

10 Nights where those mornings meant a trip to Scruples or Gold & Silver Inn

3 New Silver Peak Breweries

1 New Great Basin Brewery

5 Different restaurants that took over that old weird Brewery on S. Virginia St.

0 Restaurants taking over the former Famous Murphy's

50 Concerts/Shows at Wingfield Park

12 Concerts at Reno Hilton/Grand Sierra Resort, including Nine Inch Nails which was easily one of the best shows I've ever seen. It was a stadium-style show in an 1800-seat venue.

4 Concerts at Lake Tahoe

5 Concerts at John Ascuaga's Nugget, not including free Rib Cook-Off Shows

13 Nugget Rib Cook-Offs

4 Photos with rib-eating champ Joey Chestnut
Fourth year in a row.

1 Giant riot during Hot August Nights

0 Hot August Nights events attended since

1 Marriage at a Chapel located on the Truckee River

11 Anniversaries celebrated at the bar which now occupies that former chapel (Sierra Tap House)

1 Dog

1 Child born

15 Playgrounds visited

0 Chuck E Cheese's visited

3 Different daycare centers

1 ER Trip for child

4 ER Trips for me

Infinite number of friends, colleagues, acquaintances and people who coerced me into joining ad/design/printing clubs with them.

I love you all. I'll miss you all. And will somebody please, for God's sake, either re-open Famous Murphy's or replicate their steak sandwich!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

I have tons to write about but I'm still decompressing after this past week's craziness. Here is what you may have missed, and I promise I will elaborate further:
1. I thought I had kidney stones and/or gall stones and was in excruciating pain for the better part of a week. It turned out to be a kidney infection. I have been on a steady diet of Vicodin.
2. I turned 36.
3. We went to the beach and I can't even describe how much fun we had.
4. I spent my vacation pretending Weight Watchers doesn't exist. Surprisingly, my pants still fit.
5. I reached out to Austin Moms Blog about writing for them and they seemed receptive. Fingers crossed that they let me contribute. The blog is run by two crazy-beautiful women with super-adorable kids and I hope we at least become friends.
6. My biggest fear about moving to a new city is making friends.

That's it for now. It's time for another round of pain pills and lounging in front of the air conditioner.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


This is the only image of ghosts I could find that weren't scary.
I'm not old but I'm not young, either. But I definitely feel like I'm too young to have friends die.
Isn't having a friend die something that happens in the old folks' home when you're almost 90? "Did you hear Cecil didn't make it through the night?" "I bet Mavis is next."
But here I am on the upper end of my mid-30s and I recently lost another friend the same week my best friend lost her mom.
Another friend, another parent, another memorial, another celebration of life, another round of pain in the knowledge that I'll never see them again.
Another feeling that I'm being watched.
I believe in ghosts. I believe when people pass away young and unexpectedly, they watch out for their friends and family.
I've never actually seen a ghost, despite the number of guys I see wearing beanies who resemble Josh (died 2009) or the sheer volume of lookalikes my friend Mike (died 2005) has in existence all over the U.S. (I swear I saw him on a boat in Hilton Head.)
I'm not sure I've ever felt a ghost's presence except for the time I was up late at night with L.E. when she was just a few weeks old. I was sobbing, once again feeling like I wasn't cut out for this mommyhood shit and wondering when her real parents were coming to pick her up. It was then that I smelled my grandma (died 2001). And I immediately felt better. I don't know if her spirit was really there or not. It could have been the sleep deprivation and depression was making me crazy. But for that instant, the moment I smelled the scent of my grandma's hands, I felt like I could handle this. Like I wasn't alone.
I always joked that Bill (died 1997) was my guardian angel of driving.  I had a near-miss once where the car should have hit me but didn't. I still to this day have no idea how I didn't get hit. I'm convinced he was looking out for me.
I've had dreams about Pap but I haven't sensed him yet. There was a weird incident that happened the day after he died, though. T, L.E. and I were in San Francisco. L.E. was 9 months old. We met my best friend and her boyfriend at a bar down the street from the bar where we watched the Steeler game at 10 am with a bunch of drunken Irish-folk who genuinely loved having a baby in the bar, but I digress.
This meth-head with Tourette's (ahhhh...San Francisco!) walked in and was shouting at the bartender and pretty much everyone else. He looked over at me holding L.E. and asked when her birthday was. I pretended not to hear. But then he started screaming about his sister who was crazy and hoped my baby's birthday wasn't the same day as hers: October 13th. I froze. I said, "What did you say?" T and my friends were telling me to ignore him but I couldn't because what are the odds (I guess 365-to-1?) that he would say the day of my grandfather's birthday. My grandfather who had just died. Dun dun dun.
These instances sound like the ravings of an insane person.
But to me, the fact that I have experienced these things is comforting. Like most self-absorbed people, I'm terrified of death. So maybe the best way to get over that fear is to realize that you won't be alone when your time comes. Those you have known who have passed will be waiting for you, even if you barely remember what they looked like.
One night a few weeks after Josh died, I asked T if we die when we're old, how do we look in the afterlife? I hope that I look 30 and not 85. He said that we don't look like people, we appear as balls of light. Let me interrupt myself and share that I have never heard my husband ever speak of the afterlife, life, religion, spiritualism or anything like that. But there we was saying this with such conviction. I asked him how will we know who are loved ones are? He said, "Oh, you'll know." It was such a surreal moment. I'm pretty sure I fell in love with him all over again.
That night I dreamt of warm balls of light that sniffed each other like dogs. I knew who they all were. And it made me feel really good.
So to Walter and to my Reno-Mom (died May 18): if you see a cluster of people (or balls of light) who are gathered around watching a life that's about as exciting as that one lame episode of Golden Girls (you know, the one about Dorothy; those ones always sucked!), introduce yourselves and say hello. And welcome to the group who watches out for me.